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The Source: Smart Highways | SAPD & SAFD On The City Budget

Studio Roosegaard
Studio Roosegaarde, a Danish design firm, has posited several smart-highway designs both low and high tech. Here is one such concept with lights illuminating only the car's path and an electric grid under the pavement.

In the first segment:

The future of transportation may be smart cars but it will take smart highways to get us there. From safety to pollution to the mother-of-all-issues, traffic, intelligent transportation offers promising solutions to all of them. 

In 2011 congestion alone cost Americans $121 billion in lost time and gas, according to the most recent Urban Mobility Study.

If our highways can communicate with our cars and our cars with one another, what is possible? 

The Department of Transportation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have the rollout of this car to car communication technologyhas its challenges, but the results could mean addressing [in some manner] 76 percent of all unimpaired crashes. In short, it would be huge.

The Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been a leader in intelligent transportation systems in this country. We talk with Dr. Steve Dellenback, director of the intelligent systems department at SwRI, about their groundbreaking work to make the roads we ride on more user friendly. 

In addition, Zac Doerzaph joins us. He is director of the Center for Advanced Automotive Research at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. VTTI has also been working on Vehicle to Vehicle communication.

In the second segment:


In part two of our two-segment series on the city's looming budget negotiations we talk to unions representing public safety workers.

According to Chris Steele, president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, the premise of the conversation is skewed and the numbers don't look much better. When the city's Healthcare and Retirement Benefits Task Force presents its findings on Wednesday to the council they won't be giving a full picture of what is going on in the public safety budget.

Steele believes the city is shifting the blame of the city's rapidly expanding public safety budget onto his members benefits rather than big ticket public safety purchases. He has openly questioned the validity of the numbers city manager Sheryl Sculley has used and thinks that looking at other public safety and city budget priorities would have painted a fairer picture.

We talk with representatives of the police and fire union to get their take on what the task force's recommendations could mean for police and fire.

Steele joins us along with Detective Mike Helle, president of the San Antonio Police Officers Association.

*The Source airs at 3 p.m. on KSTX 89.1 FM -- audio from this show will be posted by 5:30 p.m.

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org