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Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

Macon Community News

The Macon Newsroom

New software will help identify roads where speeding is a problem, Gray Highway to get pedestrian crossing 

Grant Blankenship | Georgia Public Broadcasting
Macon-Bibb County Pedestrian Safety Review Board pamphlet and hat.

Identifying every street and neighborhood in Bibb County where speeding is an issue will soon be a practical task for the Macon-Bibb Pedestrian Safety Review Board, which voted to approve purchasing software that analyzes speed data being transmitted from newer-model cars.

“Instead of physically having to go out there and put road tubes out or some kind of microwave device to track and speed on that road for a certain period of time, we can look at this software and it tells us whether speed has been an issue or not,” county traffic engineer Nigel Floyd said.

The software by Florida-based UrbanSDK Inc. will allow the county to download average speed data on every road using data from cars manufactured in 2016 or later, county traffic engineer Nigel Floyd said.

“Every vehicle that’s 2016 and above has a satellite in it where the government is tracking your speeds, where you’re traveling and all of this is going to these large databases and it’s being accessed by companies to deliver data to municipalities, state entities like that,” Floyd said.

Once in operation, the software will allow the county to download 13 months of speed data and automatically identify roads and neighborhoods where speeding is a persistent problem. Floyd said the engineering department would present those findings to the board.

Urban SDK’s website shows how the software highlights roads in green, yellow and red based on speed data it analyzes from vehicles.

The board voted to approve up to $42,000 to use the software for one year.

Weston Stroud, traffic safety manager, said data from all areas of the county may not be equally captured.

“One of the things I thought about was an equity issue. If you look at some of the low-income communities, they might not have the newest cars, so therefore, you may miss some of the data of speed and volume that’s happening on the west side that you can catch on the north side,” Stroud said. “So there’s those data gaps that we have, but we’re retrofitting it for the future. … Over time, it will become more and more efficient.”

Board member David Gowan, director of risk management for the Bibb County School District, said if a statistical bias is suspected in a certain neighborhood, “we have the ability to lay out the old system and get an actual measurement.”

Board members Elaine Lucas and Myrtle Habersham voiced the importance of transparency and the need to inform the public about the new undertaking. Habersham said she wanted to make sure people understood the county is not planning to track each individual car and only aggregate data.

In other business Tuesday, the board heard about recent additions to plans the Georgia Department of Transportation has to make Gray Highway safer for drivers and pedestrians. The state highway is one of the deadliest roads in the county.

GDOT proposes installing two push-activated, lighted pedestrian crosswalks along the highway. One of the crosswalks is proposed near Lexington Street by Truist Bank, Burger King and Krystal. The other crosswalk is proposed nearby at one of the large shopping centers, Floyd said.

Floyd said GDOT would pay for the crossings but the county is responsible for acquiring the right-of-way.

The two proposed pedestrian crossings are in addition to the medianettes GDOT plans to install in the suicide lanes along the highway.

“I’m just really, really pleased with this proposal,” Lucas said. “This is more than we’ve ever gotten from GDOT and I’ve been here a long time.”

To contact Civic Journalism Fellow Laura Corley, call 478-301-5777 or email [email protected].

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  • R

    roads scholarMar 21, 2024 at 12:37 pm

    I’m not saying this is a bad idea, but the commenter on the WGXA news site said it best, and I’m paraphrasing, “speeding is on all the roads!” One doesn’t need the software to tell them that, and then what? Once again, this will place all the pressure for enforcement on the BSO which is just not workable. There are better ways, infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure, red light cameras, and speed cameras. We have the technology, why not implement it? The school zone cameras have been wildly successful.