New Haven joins Smart City Challenge to improve commute

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– New Haven is part of a nationwide contest to improve mass transit. It’s called the Smart City Challenge Grant, and it could bring up to 40 million dollars into the Elm City.

New Haven is trying to change the way people get around the city. Right now, 70 percent of people drive alone to get to work, but the city wants to change that and get more people to take advantage of things like the bus system and the new bike lanes.

The Smart City Challenge grant is a competition funded by the US Department of Transportation to get medium sized cities to develop new technology to make it easier to get around. It’s called ITS or Intelligent Transportation Systems. New Haven prides itself on the steps it’s already taking. For instance, the buses will all have GPS in a couple months that will let rides track when their bus will arrive.

They’re also talking about a bike share program like they have in New York City, and the city is studying turning certain downtown streets from one way to two way to make it easier to get around. They want to take that split of 70 percent of people driving alone to 30 taking bikes or buses, and flip that so that only 30 percent of people are driving around alone.

With more and more people moving into downtown, it’s the only way everybody is going to fit. There are simply not enough parking spaces and lanes on the road for everyone to drive all the time.

And that moving trend continues. Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro just announced she is moving into an apartment in a downtown high-rise, just a couple blocks away from the News 8 studios. Come visit!

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