Denver uses Transportation Department grant to build ‘smart city’

DENVER -- Transportation leaders in Denver said they’re building a “smart city” when it comes to traffic management.

New money from the U.S. Department of Transportation is being invested in technology to build a robust communication system.

The goal is to avoid traffic headaches for tens of thousands of commuters by taking a wealth of government traffic knowledge and putting that information in the palm of drivers’ hands.

“We can guarantee them a much better travel time to get through town,” Denver transportation director Crissy Fanganello said.

That guarantee starts at Denver’s traffic communication center, where monitors allow government employees constantly track traffic throughout Denver.

“We’ve got over 400 cameras throughout the city, so we can kind of see a lot of things that are happening with the traffic system to make sure it’s functioning well,” Fanganello said.

With a $6 million grant from the USDOT, Denver is set to make its system work even better by improving technology and communication.

The improvements will allow the City and County of Denver to send real-time updates to semitruck drivers along congested routes like Interstate 70, limiting the amount of truck traffic people see in city neighborhoods.

The money will also allow the city and county to send traffic data to smartphone navigation app Waze.

“This will help provide more information to the folks that are traveling through -- keep them on the Interstate, get them through faster,” Fanganello said.