NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s a walk many people take along Buchanan Street in North Nashville. Between a school, businesses and several bike lanes, at any time of the day, you can see just how congested the area can become.
“I grew up around this area, so I know I’ve seen a lot of accidents growing up,” said Gregory Golden as he sat outside his job on Buchanan Street. “Ever since now until 2010 and up, it’s a lot of people here. So, we definitely need more cameras and more safety measures, because not only do we have more tourists that’s traveling out here, we have more people whose coming down here to live with us.”
Golden said the area has transformed since he was younger; however, with it, safety measures have to adapt.
“If you’re flying down the street, they can’t see left or right really quick,” Golden explained.
It’s gotten the attention of organizations like the Nashville Department of Transportation (NDOT).
“So, in the past, we’ve relied on police reports going back three to five years to determine safety issues with this technology out there capturing every interaction. We’ll be able to see where the conflicts are coming from in a 2-3 week window, put in some safety measures and access that just as fast,” explained Derek Hagerty, transportation engineer with NDOT.
This week, NDOT announced a $2 million grant to make streets safer. It’s called the Leveraging Advanced Data to Deliver Multimodal Safety (LADDMS) project.
The LADDMS project will use a LiDAR video system and sensor data to identify safety issues outside of normal crash reports in North Nashville. For example, if someone is going down the street and almost gets hit by a car, the sensors on the LiDAR system will be able to detect what happened and would be able to send the data back to NDOT. From there, the department would be able to go to the area and look into what may be the cause of the problem.
“Near misses are extremely important. Currently, most of our assessments are made based on crashes, and that is fairly rare at some of these intersections. So, being able to capture near misses to what could have been, allows us to install safety measures before these crashes actually take place,” said Hagerty.
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The detection devices will be installed around blocks of downtown Nashville, along Clarksville Pike, Dr. D.B. Todd Jr. Boulevard and Buchanan Street.
Vision Zero is a worldwide strategy to put an end to the alarming number of pedestrians killed on our streets. Nashville just launched its Vision Zero initiative for the first time this year.
“Being able to understand the traffic, the multimodel environment around these crashes, we’ll be able to allow us to implement solutions that directly address those. It will take the guesswork out of it for us,” Hagerty said.
The project is a research collaboration effort between NDOT, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Vanderbilt University, Tennessee State University and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
Right now, there is no timeline for when the cameras will be installed.