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Peters Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Enhance Traffic Signal Technology and Improve Roadway Efficiency

Bill Would Create the Smart Technology Traffic Signals Grant Program Within the Department of Transportation and Improve the Functioning of Traffic Signals Nationwide

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI), a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, announced he helped introduce a bipartisan bill that would create the Smart Technology Traffic Signals Grant Program within the Department of Transportation (DOT) to improve the functioning of traffic signals across the country through the implementation of innovative technologies. The Smart Intersections Act of 2021, which Peters introduced with U.S. Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH), would reduce traffic congestion and fuel costs for drivers, while improving roadway safety and efficiency as well as emergency response rates.

“Improving traffic signal functions across the country will not only reduce congestion and help ensure the safety of drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road, it will also reduce fuel costs and air pollution caused by carbon emissions,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan bill, which will help address traffic congestion and improve traffic safety, making Michigan an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”

“Traffic congestion has increasingly become a problem which needs addressing in Utah’s cities and in many metropolitan areas around our country,” Senator Romney said. “Our bill proposes a multifaceted solution to reducing traffic congestion and improving the safety and effectiveness of our roads, while also reducing fuel costs and air pollution. As we continue to have discussions on improving our country’s infrastructure, I will work to ensure that our legislation be included in any deal that is agreed upon.”

“We can cut traffic jams and make our roads safer by just improving our traffic lights,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will help Hawaii and states across the country modernize their traffic signals so that everyone – walkers, bikers, and drivers – can get to where they need to go more safely and efficiently.”   

“I am glad to work across the aisle on this commonsense bill that can provide direct support to New Hampshire cities and towns for updates to their traffic signals. Improvements to traffic signals can help to address traffic congestion and support road safety, and I urge my colleagues to join us in supporting this bill,” said Senator Hassan. 

“ATSSA is proud to support this bipartisan legislation that aims to improve roadway safety and reduce fatalities through innovation and the modernization of traffic signals. More than ever, it is important for our industry to look to the future and ensure that roadway safety infrastructure keeps pace with the technological advances we are seeing across the roadway system. With this legislation, Sens. Romney, Schatz and Peters are ensuring that we have the tools to do so,” said Stacy Tetschner, President and CEO of the American Traffic Safety Services Association.

This bill would direct the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the potential reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with improved traffic signal efficiency. It would also prohibit funds allocated through the grant program to be used for traffic enforcement systems. 

Grants could be used to:

  • Improve the active management of traffic signals;
  • Implement strategies, activities, and projects that support active management of traffic signal operations;
  • Replace outdated traffic signals;
  • Pay the costs of temporary staffing hours dedicated to updating traffic signal technology for local governments with a population less than 500,000.

The Smart Intersections Act is endorsed by the National Association of Counties (NACo), the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC), the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATTSA), the National League of Cities, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the Wasatch Front Regional Council, and the Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITSA).