Federal grant will help create online transportation data portal

Effort will help with transportation investments in Sun Corridor

PHOENIX – A $1 million federal grant will allow transportation agencies to better leverage data to help people get around more efficiently in Arizona’s Sun Corridor, the fast-growing region stretching from the Phoenix area through Tucson to the border with Mexico.

Vehicles turning at Bell Road IntersectionThe Arizona Department of Transportation, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) and partner agencies will use the Federal Highway Administration grant to create Sun Cloud, a transportation data portal intended to inform infrastructure investments and improve mobility and safety in the region.

MAG, the transportation-planning agency for the Phoenix region, will serve as project manager to create the cloud-based repository and online portal for data contributed by ADOT, the Pima Association of Governments, the Sun Corridor Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization.

The goal: helping leaders make transportation investments that improve safety and mobility on roadways as well as streamlining the process of completing federally required environmental reviews. 

“Having accessible, usable and high-quality data and analytical tools is vital to moving people and goods more efficiently in the Sun Corridor and helping Arizona’s economy compete globally,” said Greg Byres, who leads ADOT’s Multimodal Planning Division.

ADOT was among nine state departments of transportation that received a total of $8.4 million in Federal Highway Administration Accelerated Innovation Deployment (AID) Demonstration grants.

“Sun Cloud provides a vehicle for in-depth coordination across planning boundaries. It will help us look at the Sun Corridor as a whole to assess the collective impact of transportation projects and help us focus on specific strategies,” said MAG Chair Gail Barney, mayor of Queen Creek.                                               

Besides being a resource for transportation planning, the new online tool will be of value to businesses and members of the public. For example, instead of going to multiple agencies to seek information about a specific roadway, homeowners, university students, business owners and others will be able to easily access authoritative information in one place.

The data will involve traffic, socioeconomic and environmental details, crashes and project plans for Maricopa, Pinal, Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. It will be in formats that enable use in mobile applications.