COURTESY OF RTC
Wednesday, July 12, 2017 | 2 a.m.
The way the roads in the Las Vegas Valley are monitored is about to get a high-tech upgrade.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada and Israeli startup WayCare, a predictive analytics platform for smart cities, are launching a pilot program to help prevent crashes and alleviate traffic backup associated with those incidents.
Las Vegas will serve as the first pilot program site in the U.S. for the WayCare platform. The RTC’s traffic management center will use the platform to optimize traffic flow through the two designated pilot corridors, U.S. 95 west of Interstate 15, and I-15 south of Charleston Boulevard.
“Las Vegas was a prime spot for this pilot. It was a combination of a large city of several million people and at the same time very unpredictable behavior of both drivers and patterns of things going on,” said Noam Maital, WayCare chief executive officer. “The big reasons for that is you have over 40 million people coming to Vegas every year from out of town. The need to help optimize traffic and improve traffic safety couldn't be greater in a city like Las Vegas, more so than almost any city in the U.S.”
WayCare’s platform mashes historical data with real-time data, including traffic light timing, major events, weather conditions, vehicle location, speeds and other factors.
“Real-time data is an unutilized asset that, with the introduction of predictive analytics, will enable cities to save lives on the road and optimize traffic management,” Maital said. “We can collect 200 times more data than the data generated by all road sensors in Las Vegas today. Our pilot program in Southern Nevada is yet another testament that it is truly one of the most innovative regions in the U.S.”
Instead of just relying on sensors, cameras and other devices to track and manage traffic systems, mainly used for incident-response purposes, WayCare’s predictive analytics allows first responders and traffic management centers to send resources to patrol problem areas to calm traffic in hopes of preventing traffic crashes altogether.
WayCare claims its system reduces traffic fatalities and related congestion, which in turn can save a city millions of dollars related to police enforcement, emergency services, municipal insurance expenses and lost productivity.
“You may have trucks out there that are hauling goods and they may have a value of the driver or the system of $100 an hour and you could have several trucks who are caught in those delays, then the cost is building up,” said Brian Hoeft, director of director of the Freeway and Arterial System (FAST) of Transportation for the RTC.
“It’s kind of a hidden cost, but at the same time, you might have the trucker who might miss a delivery or a person who might miss a flight or someone who might be taking a child to day care (before work and is stuck in traffic) that definitely adds up,” Hoeft said.
The RTC and WayCare are collaborating with Nevada Highway Patrol and Nevada Department of Transportation to use WayCare’s predictive insights to strategically deploy highway patrol and roadside service units.
“The information we get from WayCare will enable us to use our resources, including the Freeway Service Patrol, in a more efficient and strategic manner,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said.
NDOT’s Freeway Service Patrol works to improve safety by more quickly removing incidents that can cause traffic congestion.
Nevada has been used as a proving ground for various transportation-related programs, including the Innovation District in downtown Las Vegas.
“Nevada continues to be at the forefront of technology development that improves our transportation systems,” said Dan Langford, director of the Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility.
“As a state, we continue to diversify and broaden our international partnerships,” Langford said. “In this case, technology companies like WayCare help build on our existing relationship with Israel that was initiated by the Nevada governor's trade mission in 2013. Solutions to our transportation challenges lie in advanced technologies and global collaboration.”