Innovate Mound Newsletter – September 2020
Located in the cities of Warren and Sterling Heights, Macomb County, Innovate Mound will reconstruct Mound Road between 11 Mile and M-59. Please share this information with your network and contact us with any thoughts, ideas, questions, or concerns.
The Innovate Mound project will transform the Corridor into a state-of-the-art road of the future
Doc Brown may have painted a picture of the future for movie-goers in the 1980’s blockbuster Back to the Future II, but flying cars have disappointingly not become a modern reality yet. While we may be sad that vehicles are still connected to the ground, we can enjoy the fact that many new vehicles are communicating with each other through the power of smart technology.
One thing we have discovered in the field of emerging mobility is that communication between our vehicles, roads, pathways, and lights will be vital to improving rush hour traffic flow, reducing accidents, and making roads safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Personal, commercial, and mass transit vehicles are already being designed with state-of-the art technology with advanced communication, driving the evolution of enhanced autonomous vehicle technology.
According to Planet M, Michigan leads the world in testing and development of next-generation transportation technology. The largest deployment of freeway and surface street Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) technology in the United States can be found in Michigan.
Smart, self-driving cars will need smart roads to function at their best, which is why Macomb County, the City of Sterling Heights, and the City of Warren identified smart technology as a top priority for the reconstruction of Mound Road.
“Michigan is leading the way in mobility,” said John Crumm, director of planning for Macomb County Department of Roads (MCDR). “Many of the businesses along Mound Road are leaders in innovation, so we knew we needed an innovative road to both retain them and attract new businesses and development.”
Smart Features of a Smart Road
Connected vehicle technology will enable cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles to “talk” to each other with in-vehicle or aftermarket devices that continuously share important safety and traffic information.
Intelligent Transportation Systems will collect data from connected vehicles, mobile devices, and infrastructure to provide travelers with real-time information such as the status of traffic levels, parking availability, transit schedules, traffic signals, and road weather conditions.
One example of how this technology may help save lives is that emergency responders will receive real-time updates on deteriorating road and weather conditions. This critical information will allow them to determine the safest response routes and to calculate response times.
The Team that Collaborates Together, Innovates Together
From the very start, it was clear that this project would be unlike any other that the MCDR had undertaken. Not only would it require a great deal of funding, but it would also necessitate a high-level of teamwork and cooperation.
“The thing I’m most proud of on this project is the collaboration,” said John Crumm, director of planning for MCDR. “From the very beginning, we were all on the same page. We wanted to build a state-of-the-art road that would put our communities on the map. The team knew that would only happen if we worked closely with all the project’s stakeholders.”
That collaboration was a key factor in securing the $97.8 million dollars of federal funding through an INFRA grant for the $185 million dollar project, and it continued with the formation of the Innovation Council.
The Innovation Council Creates a Roadmap for the Future
At the start of the project, the Innovate Mound team formed the Innovation Council, a group of industry leaders charged with injecting innovative concepts into the project.
To date, the group has had several workshops to brainstorm new ideas for building a smarter road that would set the standard for emerging mobility technology.
“The Innovation Council built a roadmap with ideas and recommendations for the project,” said Jim Barbaresso, senior vice president for HNTB, Inc. HNTB was hired by MCDR to assist with project development. “We are using their feedback to inspire a design that will be the foundation for the future of mobility in Michigan and throughout the nation.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q & A with Bryan Santo, Director, Macomb County Department of Roads
Do you have a question about this project that you’d like to ask Bryan? Email us today.
Q: What are the connected vehicle and fiber-optic technologies being discussed as part of the Mound Road project?
A: The Mound Road project will modernize all road technologies used along the construction corridor. This will include fiber-optic cabling to connect all the traffic signals and other electronic signage, as well as connected vehicle hubs at each intersection which communicate with automation and other vehicle systems.
Q: Has the design-build approach for the Mound Road project been used anywhere else?
A: I-75 through Oakland County, as well as parts of M-10, I-69 and I-94 have utilized design-build delivery methods. Wayne County has also utilized it, and MDOT is using it more frequently.
Public Information Events
In lieu of an in-person public event, we will be showcasing the design and plans for the Innovate Mound project on Innovate Mound 201, a series of upcoming televised and virtual events.
In October, an Innovate Mound project update will be televised on:
- Sterling Heights Television Access channels: SHTV on Comcast Channel 5, Wide Open West (WOW) Channel 10 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99
- TV Warren Community Channels: Comcast channels 5 & 12, Wide Open West (WOW) channels 10 & 18 and AT&T channel 99.
- Innovate Mound YouTube channel
In November, you can join us for virtual webinars to discuss project plans, and talk with project team members.
Dates will be released soon. Please watch for future emails about these upcoming events.