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Delaware uses AI to evacuate crowded beaches during floods

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Delaware’s vulnerability to flooding and the need for high-tech solutions

Delaware, with its low elevation and crowded beaches, is susceptible to massive flooding, making it important to have proper evacuation plans. In order to achieve this, officials hope an influx of federal infrastructure money will trigger future evacuation plans automatically via artificial intelligence.

Introduction of high-tech solutions

The Biden administration was set to announce a total of $53 million in grants Thursday to Delaware and seven other states aimed at high-tech solutions to traffic congestion problems. Although the money comes from the infrastructure law the president signed in 2021, many of the programs — including the $5 million for flood response efforts in Biden’s home state — have evolved since then.

Use of artificial intelligence

The machine learning and predictive analysis that comes with AI are new features officials hope will help with the creation and implementation of proper evacuation plans. According to U.S. Federal Highway Administrator Shailen Bhatt, Delaware’s former transportation secretary, “Because now we have access to all this data, it’s hard for us as humans to figure out what is data and what is actionable information.”

The challenge of evacuation plans

The state of Delaware frequently performs evacuation-type procedures during the tourism season, with long lines of cars headed to the beaches on weekend mornings and back at night. Flooding, however, poses a unique problem as standing water on roads can make the most direct routes out of town even more treacherous than simply sheltering in place. Therefore, Delaware’s transportation department, which controls over 90% of roads in the state, is tasked with developing and implementing evacuation plans during high water, a daunting task considering how quickly conditions can change.

Role of AI in evacuation plans

The use of AI helps in detecting weather threats and predicting them. The system sends alerts directly to drivers through cellphone alerts and broadcasts them simultaneously on electronic highway signs. Automated cars play an important role in feeding the system with information about the dangers ahead.

Benefits of AI in transportation

Researchers at Missouri University of Science and Technology tested an earlier version of a flood prediction analysis system on the Mississippi River between 2019-22. Steve Corns, an associate professor of engineering management and systems engineering who co-authored the study, said the system was able to detect in minutes what used to take hours. The capabilities of AI are even more advanced and useful provided they’re adequately funded so the technology doesn’t become obsolete.

Grant distribution for high-tech solutions

Other than Delaware, seven other states received grants aimed at high-tech solutions to traffic congestion problems:

Maryland

The Maryland state was granted $14 million for machine learning traffic prediction and signal timing.

Michigan

Ann Arbor, Michigan’s traffic system was granted $12.7 million for retrofitting with cellular technology that could be used as a national template.

Minnesota

Microtransit services in Grand Rapids, Minnesota were granted $11.6 million to expand.

Conclusion

The grants provided by the Biden administration provide an opportunity for states to integrate high-tech solutions into their transportation systems. The use of AI ensures that evacuation plans are implemented more efficiently and effectively, saving many lives.

FAQs

Which states were granted money for high-tech transportation solutions?

Apart from Delaware, seven states received grants aimed at high-tech solutions to traffic congestion problems: Maryland, Michigan, and Minnesota.

What is the benefit of AI in transportation?

AI helps in detecting weather threats and predicting them as well as sending alerts directly to drivers through cellphone alerts and broadcasting them simultaneously on electronic highway signs. Automated cars play an important role in feeding the system with information about the dangers ahead.

What is Delaware vulnerable to?

Delaware, with its low elevation and crowded beaches, is susceptible to massive flooding.

What is the importance of high-tech solutions in transportation?

High-tech solutions in transportation ensure that evacuation plans are implemented more efficiently and effectively, saving many lives.

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