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Making Georgia’s school zones safer

Technology will be installed at more than 300 schools in 118 Georgia counties

Smart school beacon in action in Jackson County
Smart school beacon in action in Jackson County

Georgia has installed smart beacon Internet of Things (IoT) technology from Applied Information in a bid to improve road safety in school zones across the US state.


According to the Transportation Research Board, “at least” 100 children are killed in collisions while walking to or from school in the US, while 25,000 children are injured every year in school zone accidents.


Selected by the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), it is reportedly the first state to deploy the company’s IoT technology, powered by AT&T connectivity, for school districts statewide.


The programme connects school zone beacons – those flashing signs that are intended to slow drivers down as they pass by a school – to the IoT to make them more reliable and more responsive in the event of a change of schedule caused by inclement weather, biannual time changes, holidays or other disruptions.


The Glance school zone beacon system was developed by Applied Information, in collaboration with AT&T for secure wireless connectivity and Temple for installation and maintenance. The technology is being installed at more than 300 schools in 118 Georgia counties in time for the first bell of the 2018 school year.


“Making school zone beacons smarter is a perfect example of how we can use connected technology to improve safety on our roadways,” said Bryan Mulligan, president of Applied Information, Inc. “GDOT is to be commended for taking the lead to improve safety around school zones on such a large scale and in such a short amount of time to be prepared for the new school year.”


Each smart beacon has its own cellular modem to handle all communication, enabling traffic engineers using their smartphone or tablet to determine if the beacons are operating correctly and, if necessary, instantly alert the appropriate resources in the event of lamp or battery failures. AT&T’s 4G/LTE mobile network will power the smart beacons and AT&T’s IoT platform, control centre will be used to manage the solution on the back end.


“Mobile technology is becoming more integrated into existing traffic equipment to help make school zones safer for school children and drivers,” added Mike Zeto, vice president of AT&T IoT solutions and general manager of smart cities. “Our initiative with Applied Information is a great example of our growing effort in public safety to help cities become safer and more connected to their citizens.”


The Applied Information and AT&T collaboration provides a complete suite of Glance smart cities connected transportation technologies including emergency vehicle traffic signal preemption, bus rapid transit signal priority, connected crosswalks, smart school zone beacons, connected traffic calming device and the TravelSafely smartphone app.


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