Why the US Infrastructure Act can’t just be about building new roads and bridges


Since US President Joe Biden recently signed the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act into law, many outdated state and local roads, bridges, and transportation systems are being upgraded to not only keep up with consumer demand, but also to provide increased safety and prevent accidents and fatalities to reduce .

This bipartisan infrastructure contract will (1) Increase public transit funding for communities across the country by an average of 30% and help transit companies reduce the current maintenance backlog by 15% and replace more than 500 aging subways, light rail and commuter trains. It also aims to reduce road accidents affecting pedestrians and cyclists through a Safe Roads and Routes for All programme.

Infrastructure investments must go beyond new roads and bridges

While this is the largest investment in American infrastructure in generations and represents a game changer for America’s transportation system, building and upgrading simply isn’t enough in the technological landscape we live in, where intelligent and autonomous transportation technology is creating opportunity and hope to help the US achieve Vision Zero. It is one of the more revolutionary plans aimed at eliminating deaths and serious injuries due to road traffic and unsafe infrastructure.

Intelligent infrastructure must play a significant role

Rather than just investing in traditional infrastructure, or simply rebuilding highways and bridges, “smart infrastructure,” or the technology designed to enable safer, more connected, more efficient roads, must be at the forefront of the future of the transportation ecosystem. from (2) from improved road and pedestrian safety to less congested roads and lower carbon emissions, and finally the city-wide deployment of autonomous vehicles, the future of transportation is rooted in intelligent infrastructure.

Several AI companies have brought this focus to intelligent infrastructure as platforms are purpose-built using advanced real-time analytics to have “eyes” and “brains” on road infrastructure. Overall, these platforms allow better visibility for all road users, making transportation not only safer but also more comfortable and with even better performance. For example, they can monitor trajectories and predict intentions for all vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians in the field of view of traffic sensors, creating a comprehensive understanding of road user behavior that helps identify and predict potential conflicts or collisions, which in turn are dangerous spots the streets. This will also result in less congested roads. For the average US citizen, congestion costs 99 hours of their time and $1,377 per year (3). Smart infrastructure can prevent traffic congestion by adjusting traffic signals when needed. Finally, the autonomous vehicle (AV) industry recognizes that intelligent infrastructure is a key piece of the puzzle in accelerating the ability to securely and scalably deploy more AV routes across diverse cities and countries.

Intelligent infrastructure in some areas right from the start

The good news is that smart infrastructure is already on the radar and a focus for many communities across the US. For example, the City of Fremont, California, has partnered with CT Group and Derq to deploy AI analysis systems to intersections, a key component of a safe and intelligent corridor project along a nine-mile stretch of Fremont Boulevard (4). In Michigan, the DOT has partnered with Cavnue and other regional partners to develop a major connected and autonomous corridor between Detroit and Ann Arbor, beginning with connected buses and expanding to additional types of CAVs (5). These focal points serve as a basis on which the new infrastructure law can be built. In fact, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has already encouraged the use of multiple transportation technologies in programs such as The Vulnerable Road User Research and Congestion Relief Program programs (6).

Innovative technologies at the heart of Smart Infrastructure

The new infrastructure law offers signs of progress in the use of advanced AI and data analysis for the expansion of intelligent infrastructure. For example, the bill establishes the Safety Data Initiative, where the DOT can conduct projects, award grants, and also use other strategies that leverage new data visualization, sharing, and analysis tools that federal, state, and local agencies can use to improve the Land transport can use security.

To truly build an infrastructure transportation network that serves as a global model, investments in US intelligent infrastructure must not be mere pilots. This technology must be central to the development of a nationwide transport network that paves the way for the future of intelligent and autonomous mobility. As exciting as it is to now see new and improved US transportation infrastructure in the works, it’s important to recognize that none of these roads will be more efficient and offer the highest standards of safety without intelligent infrastructure leading the way. By leveraging the tested and proven technologies of AI startup companies, road users across the country will see a more reliable transit service, drive on smarter roads, and feel much safer on the roads, creating more routes for people to get to work , to play, to play to access health care and to visit friends and family.


dr Georges Aoude is CEO and co-founder of Derq, an MIT spin-off that is powering the future of connected and autonomous roads, making cities smarter and safer for all road users, and enabling the deployment of autonomous vehicles at scale. Derq provides cities and fleets with an award-winning and patented AI-powered intelligent infrastructure platform that helps them tackle the toughest road safety and traffic management problems.


1: https://www.transit.dot.gov/about/news/us-department-transportation-announces-key-priorities-funding-public-transportation

  1. https://visionzeronetwork.org/about/what-is-vision-zero/

3: https://inrix.com/press-releases/2019-traffic-scorecard-us/

4: https://www.traffictechnologytoday.com/news/intersections/itsa2021-intersection-analytics-announced-for-fremont-smart-corridor-project.html

5: https://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0.4616.7-151-9620_95066-537201-.00.html

6: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684


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