NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As the city continues to grow, more people in Nashville means more cars on its roads. But Vanderbilt University is teaming up with the Tennessee Department of Transportation to solve that problem.
"I-24 is going through a major upgrade all the way up from Nashville out to Murfreesboro," said Vanderbilt University professor Dan Work. "A lot of different technologies that are being deployed."
Among those technologies: poles lining a 4-mile stretch of Interstate 24 from Bell Road to Hickory Hollow.
"The poles are part of a system called I-24 MOTION," said Work. "I-24 MOTION is revolutionizing how we measure traffic on the freeway."
The process began a year ago when TDOT started installing the poles. They tower more than 100 feet high, each with multiple cameras on top giving TDOT and Vanderbilt a bird's-eye view of everything on the road.
"We can't necessarily eliminate traffic congestion, but what we're trying to do is make it more reliable," Work said.
The 300 video feeds use artificial intelligence, providing 3D images of the vehicles and how they interact on the road.
"If there's a crash that happens on the freeway, the quicker we can respond to that the quicker we can return traffic to a normal state and that helps everybody with their planning process," said Work.
The video will also study autonomous vehicles and emergency vehicle response times.
One thing it won't study: license plates.
"Number one: we're not going to. Number two: we're not allowed to. Number three: part of the design of the system was to prevent that type of information from being generated," said Work.
So far 32 poles have been installed. The remaining eight are expected to be installed by September.