Henry County Selected for Federal Grant to Install Smart Signals

Photo of Fire Engine 1 at SR 20 and Old Industrial Blvd in McDonough (staff photo)
(Clayton Carte photo)

Henry County emergency vehicles could soon benefit from technology to improve their response times, following a federal grant the county received for smart traffic signals. Henry County was the only grant recipient selected from Georgia this year.

Smart Traffic Signals Federal Grant

At Henry County’s June 28 meeting, the county commissioners accepted an $825,000 Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Planning and Prototyping Grant. The county received the award for its Connected Vehicle Pilot and Prototype Development.

Henry County Transportation Planning Director Sam Baker detailed the program. “We plan to use this SMART Grant to deploy and test connective vehicle technology,” said Baker. “This allows a car to send a signal to a traffic light and change it from red to green so that it can pass through a busy intersection faster.”

In this case, the county is focused on using the technology to expedite response times to emergencies in the community. According to Baker, thirty-two intersections and forty-five Henry County Fire Rescue vehicles already have the requisite roadside and onboard units installed. The county will use grant funds to update some of this existing technology, then activate and test the system.

Traffic signals equipped with the technology represent some of the county’s main thoroughfares. This includes signals on state route 20, state route 155, Eagles Landing Parkway and North Henry Blvd. The technology works by providing a green traffic signal to responding emergency vehicles. All other approaches to the intersection will see a red light. Marietta in Cobb County has reduced response times by about two minutes per emergency call since implementing the technology.

Next Steps

If successful, the plan is to send the resulting data to the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of a request for additional funding. The county’s goal is to expand the program’s reach. Eventually, the county could expand the program to include transit vehicles, so that they operate more efficiently. For example, a new local bus route will be starting next year between McDonough and Stockbridge.

Henry County can also increase the number of stop lights equipped with the receivers. “Eventually I foresee having this technology deployed at every major intersection in the county,” shared Baker. There are a little more than 200 traffic signals in Henry County, according to the latest transportation plan.

The US Department of Transportation received 321 applications for its FY 2023 SMART Grant. They selected 34 recipients to receive the grant, from which Henry County was the only recipient in Georgia. The SMART Grant requires no local matching funds.

Portions of this article are excerpts from Henry County Communications. Featured image shows a Henry County fire engine on state route 20 in McDonough. Clayton Carte photo.

About Clayton 1533 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.