Utah pilots real-time roadway-conditions tool

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Starting next week, Utah’s Department of Transportation will pilot a new, situational awareness tool around Salt Lake County that’s designed to give state officials instant access to the conditions of their highways and roads.

UDOT’s traffic and safety team will pilot Payver, a new software product announced on Thursday by Blyncsy, a tech company headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Along a stretch of 350 miles of highway and roads in Salt Lake County, Payver will continually process high-definition images and videos collected from a variety of sources — including dashboard cameras, drones, satellites and some newer cars, like Teslas, that have the ability to transmit that data. The company will process those images and videos with a machine learning engine to determine what’s happening on the roads in near-real-time, said Mark Pittman, Blyncsy’s CEO.

The software looks for how visible roadway stripes are, whether construction barrels are in place and for missing signage or roadway debris, Pittman told StateScoop, adding that the software transfers that data back to UDOT officials in their offices and in the field.

“We’re piloting this technology as we look for more data-driven ways to optimize our operations and increase safety for our transportation system,” UDOT director of traffic and safety Rob Miles said in a press release. “The condition of our striping and physical infrastructure is a key element in delivering the best travel experience for our state.”

Blyncsy was created with the idea that its staff would become data scientists and software for developers for state DOTs, Pittman said, and specifically Utah, which in April received from the White House the best overall infrastructure grade, C+, of any state in the country.

“We basically build and perfect everything with UDOT and then roll it out across the country,” Pittman said, noting that Blyncsy already works with 14 states and Canada.

The project builds on a long-term goal of the state’s transportation department to improve its situational awareness. UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras in 2017 said he wanted “to know what’s going on everywhere at all times.” Payver is an early step toward that goal, Pittman said, because it can auto-populate maps with markers showing where service is needed, reducing the need for field workers to constantly survey where damage to roads has occurred.

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Department of Transportation, machine learning, Salt Lake County, Transportation, Utah Department of Transportation
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