Looking for traffic & parking updates? KCMO website makes downtown navigation easier

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Heading downtown? There's a website that may be able to help!

While it is still in its beginning phases, the website built by the city of Kansas City, Missouri, can be a useful tool for downtown commuters.

"It allows individuals who are coming to downtown understand what is going on in that environment in front of them so they can account for extra time if there's traffic," said Bob Bennett, chief innovation officer for KCMO.

The website launched in February and it shows data gathered by about 200 traffic meters along Main Street.

"Right now, it's only on Main Street because that's where I have the sensors deployed," said Bennett. "Our goal is to add complexity as we build out our smart city's infrastructure."

When you go to the website you can see areas of color along Main Street that shows traffic flow. Each color signifies a different speed.

"Right now you are seeing road traffic," said Bennett. "We're going to add foot traffic, additional avenues and additional streets."

Perhaps one of the most useful tools on the website is the ability to show whether parking spots are available in real time.

"If they need to find a parking spot right along Main Street it gives them a targeted location to go directly to," he said. "You're not going to spend 10-15 minutes looking for that parking spot. You're going to go right in and park your car."

So where may this smart traffic map expand to next? Prospect Avenue is at the top of the list.

"I am in the process of working with those leaders and city staff to make that a reality and not just a plan. So I anticipate that will be the next place we go," said Bennett.

This is part of the smart city initiative. The City Council approved a $15.8 million deal in 2015 to make Kansas City the latest "Smart City" in North America. The city then debuted its Smart City system in 2016 a day before the official launch of the KC Streetcar.

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Jade DeGood can be reached at Jade.DeGood@KSHB.com.

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