With the support of the Hillman Foundation, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) created Traffic21 to stimulate a broad community partnership to identify, refine, and deploy “intelligent transportation system” technology advancements to the Pittsburgh region’s transportation system. Our goal is to leverage projects that will brand the region as an internationally-recognized place for “smart transportation” thus attracting further investment in both research and commercialization.
For more than 150 years, southwestern Pennsylvania has developed a transportation infrastructure defined by industry and geography. Today, more than ever, transportation is essential for our economic and cultural vitality. More than a million residents of southwestern Pennsylvania and countless visitors navigate our roads each day. Pittsburgh and its surroundings have garnered an impressive reputation as one of the most desirable places to live, as noted by publications including Business Week, The Economist, and Rand McNally’s Places Rated Almanac. We have a reputation for re-inventing our economy through green innovation and technology. Traffic21 will strengthen Southwestern Pennsylvania’s reputation considerably with “intelligent traffic,” which embraces cost-effective, efficient transportation systems and technologies.
Traffic21 will help the region gain access to state and federal funds to deploy systems that incorporate smart, cost-saving features. This would place Pittsburgh at the forefront of the intelligent transportation field nationally, and enhance the region’s ability to attract new employers and improve its economy. Moreover, Traffic21 will provide citizens with the independence, safety, improved health and transportation efficiencies required to accommodate the changing needs of businesses, families and cultural amenities.
While achieving these laudable goals, we will also spur the growth of marketable transportation technologies. Simply put, Traffic21 aligns perfectly with existing efforts of government and community leaders to make Southwestern Pennsylvania a greener, “smart” city and a model for the nation.
Traffic21 is directed by Richard Stafford, Distinguished Service Professor of Public Policy in the Heinz College. In this role, Stafford helps identify external funding opportunities and matches them with promising research, often working in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon’s Offices of Government and Corporate Relations.
For more than 30 years, Stafford has played key roles in western Pennsylvania economic growth and development, including serving as Chief Executive Officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development from 1991 to 2003 and as Secretary of Legislative Affairs and later chief of staff in the cabinet of Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh. In 1976-77, while on the research faculty of the Heinz College working under Professor Al Blumstein, Stafford was instrumental in launching the Port Authority’s ACCESS system, a highly successful Port Authority Transit system serving people with special transportation needs. ACCESS has since served as a model nation and worldwide. Since 2005, Stafford has been teaching and implementing strategic initiatives at the Heinz College.
Carnegie Mellon’s Vice President for Research Rick McCullough and Heinz College Dean Ramayya Krishnan provide oversight and guidance to the Traffic21 program. Their involvement enables the initiative to draw from technology expertise across the entire campus while bringing to bear the policy expertise that will ultimately determine implementation success.
In addition, Timothy McNulty, Associate Vice President for Government Relations, is providing key guidance on partnership and funding opportunities with local, state and federal entities and William Swisher, Director of Corporate Relations, is providing guidance on partnership and funding opportunities with the private sector.