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CMU’s Traffic21 Announces Winners of Second Smart Mobility Challenge

On May 8 2019, Carnegie Mellon University’s Traffic21 announced North Huntingdon Township and the Airport Corridor Transportation Association (ACTA) as the winners of its second Smart Mobility Challenge

Traffic21, a research institute operated out of CMU’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy and Mobility21, its affiliated USDOT National University Transportation Center in the College of Engineering, sponsored this year’s challenge as a continuation of its mission of transforming southwestern Pennsylvania into a testbed for mobility innovation. 

With generous funding from the Hillman Foundation, the Smart Mobility Challenge invited representatives of municipalities and public transit operators in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties to identify real-world mobility challenges affecting their communities and apply to receive support from CMU faculty and students.

“The problems submitted for consideration illustrate the mobility challenges we face in southwestern Pennsylvania and the awareness and dedication of our local leaders and transit operators to find solutions” said Lisa Kay Schweyer, Program Manager of Traffic21.

Lynn Manion, Executive Director of the ACTA, and Michael Turley, Assistant Manager of North Huntingdon, represented this year’s award recipients. Their challenges were selected based on the availability of data to answer the stated problem and alignment with the academic strengths of the Carnegie Mellon University Mobility Analytics Center (MAC) team.

Manion’s mobility challenge involves designing a flex route first and last mile system to maximize mobility and operating efficiency as well as ridership comfort, while Turley seeks a solution to alleviate congestion, ensure safety and anticipate travel demand on a heavily trafficked roadway.

As recipients of this year’s Smart Mobility Challenge, Manion and Turley will receive support from MAC, which collects, integrates and learns from massive amounts of mobility data and contributes to the development of smarter transportation systems. MAC will use the mobility problems identified by Manion and Turley to provide data, analytics, and recommended solutions for each mobility problem.

“We look forward to solving the challenges presented by the ACTA and North Huntingdon,” said Heinz College Dean Ramayya Krishnan. “Only at Carnegie Mellon do we have this unique opportunity to collaborate with partners in our region to solve real-world problems faced by their communities.” 

“The solutions that result from these projects can provide other cities with ideas on how to apply big data to address their own transportation problems,” says Jonathan Cagan, the interim dean of Carnegie Mellon Engineering.

For the submissions not selected, CMU offered to connect representatives from municipalities and public transit operators with faculty from across campus to explore additional solutions through class projects. Manion and Turley will begin working with CMU on July 1, 2019, with the projects to be completed by June 30, 2020.


About the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy: The Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy is home to two internationally recognized graduate-level institutions at Carnegie Mellon University: the School of Information Systems and Management and the School of Public Policy and Management. This unique colocation combined with its expertise in analytics set Heinz College apart in the areas of cybersecurity, health care, the future of work, smart cities, and arts & entertainment. In 2016, INFORMS named Heinz College the #1 academic program for Analytics Education. For more information, please visit

About the College of Engineering: The College of Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University is a top-ranked engineering college that is known for our intentional focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration in research. The College is well-known for working on problems of both scientific and practical importance. Our “maker” culture is ingrained in all that we do, leading to novel approaches and transformative results. Our acclaimed faculty have a focus on innovation management and engineering to yield transformative results that will drive the intellectual and economic vitality of our community, nation and world.