Luke Stedke, Managing Director of Communications and Policy
Imagine you’re in route to pick up your dad for his doctor’s appointment that took weeks to schedule and you get stopped by a train. Fifteen minutes later, you make it to your dad’s place, you’re a little behind schedule but should be able to get there on time. Driving down the major east-west thoroughfare on the way to the doctor’s office, another train.
With 40 at-grade rail crossings throughout the city, these critical delays of school buses, first responders, residents, and visitors are all too common in Lima. While the number of crossings may be unique, the lack of access to train schedules and wait times is not.
Considered a major rail hub, the city of Lima sees an average of 80 trains per day from up to five different rail lines and, roadways are often blocked for as long as 30 minutes. This problem is what led DriveOhio to collaborate with Lima to explore smart mobility solutions that could improve safety and travel at railroad crossings throughout the city.
On January 26, US Ignite and Spectrum Enterprise announced the award of a multi-year grant and resources to DriveOhio to design and implement smart transportation initiatives, starting with this innovative project in the city of Lima.
Through this partnership, Lima will be able to leverage Spectrum’s high-speed network infrastructure and smart city ecosystem to deploy smart devices, like sensors, that will collect data and deliver insights to drivers. To Lima Mayor David Berger, this project is a relief, adding that it’s taken the city of Lima nearly 20 years to complete just one grade separation project, and residents can’t wait another 20 for real solutions.
Ohio citizens deserve 21st-century solutions that utilize technology of the future, delivering data and analytics to advise drivers about train schedules, wait times at railroad crossings, and alternative route suggestions.
Another champion for the project is Lt. Governor and InnovateOhio Director Jon Husted. The DeWine-Husted administration remains committed to a technology-based approach to improving the lives of Ohioans. Providing real-time information to help alleviate congestion and make travel more predictable in Lima is just one example of that strategy.
As the project progresses, the team at DriveOhio is optimistic about building a model that can be replicated across the state. Applied technology and an investment in rural mobility solutions is just the beginning of Ohio’s transportation innovation.