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Downtown going digital to help manage traffic congestion

Updated March 4, 2021 - 9:23 am

An innovative pilot program launched in downtown Las Vegas this month aims to reduce traffic congestion and increase roadway safety in the area.

The six-month trial curbside management project is a collaboration between Cox Communications and the city of Las Vegas, focusing on a portion of Main Street, officials announced Thursday.

The pilot program includes six parking spaces on Main next to the Plaza. The spaces feature two digital kiosks that incorporate video analytics and smart parking technology to increase the efficiency of managing curb loading areas for taxis and ride hailing services.

Along the curb of those spaces, cameras capture vehicle and license plate information and send data to the sidewalk kiosks to begin a countdown timer.

If a vehicle stays in the loading zone following the conclusion of the countdown, the system reports the incident directly to the city, ensuring a constant flow of traffic.

Those involved in the pilot program hope the program will not only cut down on traffic, but also increase pedestrian safety.

“Installing the curbside management kiosks demonstrates the innovation that Las Vegas is pursuing to create a smarter ecosystem for visitors and residents,” said Barak Weinisman, vice president of Cox2M and smart communities, in a statement. “We look forward to working with the city to help ease traffic flow and showcase how kiosks can enable visitor engagement.”

The Cox platform also allows for cloud processing of traffic flow information, vehicle information displayed on-screen and an online portal to report traffic and pedestrian information in the area.

Cox Media will also test placing advertisements on the kiosks available to local businesses.

“We are excited to be part of the technology that moves Las Vegas forward as a Smart City,” said Tonya Ruby, vice president of Cox Media Las Vegas, in a statement.

The city has embraced technology-based pilot programs such as the autonomous shuttle that operated on a 0.6-mile route around the Fremont East area and the former Lyft Art Park on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Fremont Street.

Las Vegas’ partnership with Cox represents just one of the trial projects that the city has lined up in the area, according to Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

“The city is working on a variety of smart and innovative public-private partnerships, just like this one,” Goodman said in a statement. “We appreciate Cox for their out-of-the-box thinking and assistance as we work together to ease traffic congestion in our downtown. It’s ideas like this one that will move our city into the future.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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