From mobile apps to testbeds on wheels, creative thinkers at government agencies are finding ways to better serve the public.
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With 500,000 citizens, and their cars, squeezed within city boundaries of only 8 square miles, Santa Monica is taking steps to avoid a daily traffic snarl.
The city has deployed an Advanced Traffic Management System, including traffic signal controllers and cameras, to remotely monitor and manage traffic in real time. Ambulances and other public safety vehicles, equipped with transponders, automatically trigger green lights as they rush along major throughways. Buses will get those privileges next, to help them stay on schedule.
The city's parking lots are monitored, and opened or closed as necessary, while electronic signs show drivers the number of available spaces. A website, at parkingspacenow.smgov.net, shows parking availability at local lots.
Wi-Fi-equipped parking meters accept payments from credit cards and cellphones. And if drivers get a parking ticket, those can be paid via mobile device, too.
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