Tahoe Transportation District receives SMART grant for traffic data collection

New traffic counts will support regional transportation planning

March 20, 2024

Tahoe Transportation District (TTD) received a Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) grant from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to plan for and evaluate multimodal traffic data collection technologies. This will allow the region to better understand the number of vehicles entering and leaving the Lake Tahoe Basin as well as other transportation needs to help manage traffic operations and safety concerns.  

Types of Projects supported by the USDOT SMART Grant program

Source:  USDOT, SMART Grants Program | US Department of Transportation


Who is involved?

TTD, along with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), US Department of Transportation, Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), US Forest Service, and local governments in the Tahoe region, are collaborating to identify the most suitable locations for this traffic data collection pilot program.

What is the SMART grant program?

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) created the competitive SMART grant program to provide funding to public agencies to conduct demonstration projects focused on advanced smart community technologies that improve transportation efficiency and safety.  The TTD grant will test data collection technologies in the Lake Tahoe Basin, which has unique challenges related to climate and availability of utilities for traditional data collection methods.

How long will the project last?

SMART grants are intended to be completed within 18 months. The project is currently in the planning stage and data collection is expected to begin during the summer of 2024.

Where and how will data be collected?

TTD, TRPA, and other partner agencies are currently working to identify the most suitable technology and locations for traffic data collection. Priority locations may include entry points into the Lake Tahoe Basin and high-traffic areas across the region. Information that could be used to identify individuals, such as license plates, will NOT be collected.

Why is this project needed?

The Lake Tahoe Region has unique travel patterns due to a combination of local residential and commercial trips plus visitation from around the region and the world. However, there is limited information about exactly how many vehicles are travelling around the region and how this varies by season, holiday periods, time of day, and specific location. Information about how many people walk, bicycle, or use other ways to travel is also limited. Once developed through this grant program, transportation planners will use this data to better understand and prepare for transportation needs.

How will the data be used?

TTD and TRPA will use the data to gain a better understanding of traffic movement into and through the Lake Tahoe Basin by season and time of day. This information will be used to identify transportation needs and potential solutions to meet the unique travel demands of the region. Information will be made available to the public though TRPA’s Tahoe Open Data web portal.

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