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Dubuque projects push to make a smarter city

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A $2 million proposal would add robotic arms to Dubuque garbage trucks.
The city received $1 million dollars to install smart traffic signals. They will automatically reroute vehicles and provide drivers traffic updates
street meters
The test-trial meters will allow drivers to pay using their credit cards or smartphones

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) - The City of Dubuque is laying out a series of plans to make living in town easier for everyone.

Two weeks ago, the city announced they received a $1 million grant to install smart traffic signals. The signals would gather real-time traffic data and adjust light signals accordingly and provide drivers traffic conditions on their smartphones.

Currently, the city is conducting second test trial for their smart street meters. Renee Tyler, Director of Transportation Services for the City of Dubuque, said the meters would allow them to gather data on how many cars are violating paid spaces.

Tyler said the meters and pay stations would also allow drivers to pay for their spaces on their smartphones or directly with their credit cards.

"Because especially since we have a lot of snow on the ground, it's a little slushy sometimes to walk over snow drifts just to plug your meter," said Tyler. "So how cool would it be to just blue tooth it, put your information in, pay for it and keep moving."

Tyler said some of the meters in town have not been updated in nearly 25 years. The second trial will end this summer.

Another smart proposal are automated garbage trucks. The $2 million proposal would allow waste management to pick up trash bins with a robotic arm.

Anderson Sainci, Resource Management Coordinator for the City of Dubuque Public Works Department, said not only would the addition increase the speed in which garbage is gathered, it would also improve safety for their employees.

"Getting out, steeping on the wrong thing, slipping and falling, the constant manual lifting, the weather conditions," said Sainci. "Now, we're trying to prevent some of those by having them stay inside of the vehicle. And again, safely operate the automation throughout the community."

If passed, the changes could increase the cost of waste management services. Currently, waste management costs about $15 per month; that could increase to about $17 per month.

The money raised would be used for purchasing two new automatic trucks, robotic arms for the remaining trucks and new trash bins for residents.

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Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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