MDOT Turning To Technology To Save Lives - - The News for South Mississippi

MDOT Turning To Technology To Save Lives

BILOXI (WLOX) -- Each year between 400 and 500 people die in car accidents on state roads. That's according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Now MDOT is turning to new technology to try to save lives.

On August 27th, 2007, a traffic accident on Highway 67 and Three Rivers Road sent three people to the hospital. Three days later, MDOT put up a traffic light at the Harrison County intersection. MDOT officials say addressing safety concerns usually takes much longer.

MDOT Chief Technology officer John Simpson said, "It's not plentiful money that we get to spend on safety projects such as this, so we need to have very good data to back up our request for safety money."

A few months ago, MDOT began using a safety management program. Law enforcement from across the state submit information on the locations and causes of traffic accidents.

"If there's a problem with visibility at night because of rain and there is an inordinate amount of accidents, we can put up rumble strips on the shoulders, repaint the stripes, or a number of things we can do that could potentially save lives," said Simpson

MDOT is also trying to save manpower. Officials say these days the agency is having to do more with the same number of employees, so it is using the Internet to perform tasks like issuing trucker permits.

Kenneth Marshall works for MDOT.

"Normally we have operators, probably about ten operators in the Jackson office that actually answer phones and fill out the permits. Then they have to fax them to the person. Now they can get them online."

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials subcommittee on Information Systems Annual conference continues Tuesday at Beau Rivage.

by Danielle Thomas

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