Cintra, a leading developer and operator of over 40 miles of managed lanes in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, hosted a summit on travel patterns and trends in North Texas while also showcasing innovative technologies to come. A diverse group of representatives from both the public and private sectors attended the downtown Dallas event.
“The concentration of talent from internal resources and academia pulled together in this event was outstanding and triggered many thoughtful conversations with regional partners and authorities,” said Pablo Ferrando, Cintra’s Innovation Director. “These stakeholders can now identify and disseminate the analytical work that Cintra is able to accomplish and hopefully can better appreciate the value that our organization can bring to the projects where we participate.”
Shifting Mobility in a Post-COVID-19 World
The Summit showcased research from representatives at Cintra and Streetlight Data analyzing shifts in mobility patterns during the COVID-19 pandemic. Traffic patterns shifted to midday and the weekend due to new drivers in the region. New drivers during non-traditional peak hours indicates more flexibility in travel patterns and trips to previously less frequented parts of the region.
The academic community offered expert commentary on the future of mobility in the Metroplex based on current trends of increased eCommerce and working from home. Dr. Chandra Bhat, a professor of engineering at The University of Texas at Austin, emphasized the rapid growth of eCommerce and direct link to corresponding high volume of vehicles on the road and miles traveled. Ultimately, eCommerce will shift the type of vehicle on the road.
Dr. Patricia Mokhtarian, a professor of engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology, continued the conversation focusing on the impact of the current work-from-home trend in a post-COVID-19 environment. Dr. Mokhtarian’s research found that only a portion of COVID-induced telework is likely to remain in the long term and the relief on traffic congestion we’re seeing today is not expected to last. On the contrary, modeling by Dr. Mokhtarian and her team expects continued economic and population growth will result in an expected increase in vehicle miles traveled in 2022 versus 2019, despite an increase in working from home across this period.
Innovating Today to Prepare for the Technologies of the Future
Looking towards the future, Cintra recently announced the AIVIA Smart Roads initiative. The Summit included an exploration of the AIVIA vision for the future of mobility not only in North Texas but across the United States.
The mission of AIVIA is to create corridors that are safe and efficient for mixed traffic by leveraging connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI) and state-of-the-art communications. Existing sensors on roadways would be complemented with new AI sensors imbedded into the physical infrastructure of the roadway and development of a “digital twin” of the roadway to provide real-time information and predictions on roadway conditions. Such technologies would allow for vehicle-to-infrastructure (v2X) and vehicle-to-vehicle (v2v) communications and facilitate safe travel by alerting vehicles of different hazards such as wrong way driving, obstacle detection, lane closure and work zone notifications.
The end result: an innovative roadway of the future where autonomous, connected, and manned vehicles all transport people and goods more safely and efficiently.