Automated & Connected

Parsons launches new smart city challenge focused on traffic intersections

Parsons Corporation of Centreville, Virginia has announced the first event in a new series of government collaborations. Smart Cities Challenge: Transforming Intersections is designed to significantly increase mobility around cities and reduce the amount of time drivers spend idling at red lights. The event’s sponsors and partners include Amazon Web Services and Verizon.

The challenge will incorporate Parsons Intelligent Intersections, which – according to the organization – can be used by cities and counties to leverage existing data to provide automated traffic re-timing based on changing traffic patterns, enhancing mobility for the region. Intelligent Intersections can also communicate with connected vehicles, which will lead to more efficient and environmentally friendly driving with a smaller carbon footprint and, ultimately, safer intersections. Traffic signal owners can also provide priority to transit and emergency vehicles or automatically extend green cycles for pedestrians needing extra time to cross the street. 



“Every year people spend more than a week and a half of their life sitting at red traffic lights,” says Chuck Harrington, Parsons chairman and CEO. “By changing intersections through our Transforming Intersections challenge, we will not only revolutionize how cities move, but we'll provide people with some of their valuable time back to do things other than sit at a traffic light. Our goal is to give cities the opportunity to increase their mobility, reduce their carbon footprint through reduced idling of vehicles, and keep their city moving.”


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With increasing populations, growing development, and demand for new services, managing a city's transportation network has become a complex mobility challenge. But the solution could be as simple as transforming an intersection. More than four million hours of annual vehicle delays are caused by poor signal timing alone within the United States. Forty percent of all pedestrian accidents happen at intersections. And drivers can reduce their fuel consumption by 20 percent with well-timed signals. Our solution contributes to the sustainability of surface transportation.



“Starting today, cities and counties in the United States, Canada, and beyond can apply to collaborate with us to use new mobility technologies to address the challenges their transportation networks face every day. The winner of the smart cities challenge will receive a free one-year trial of the Parsons Intelligent Intersections solution for their transportation corridor,” said Andrew Liu, Parsons senior vice president of Smart Cities.

If your city or county wants commuters to spend less time sitting at red lights and more time catching up with friends and family, apply to Parsons' Transforming Intersections challenge at Improving their intersections is just one of many ways cities on the move can work with Parsons and its partners to enrich their citizens' quality of life.


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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.

Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at