Frisco is one of the nation's ringleaders for transportation innovation. Here's how Innovation

The Frisco Economic Development Corporation sees Frisco as one, big “innovation lab.” Industry leaders often boast the city’s out-of-box thinking and innovative approaches that are now touted as the Frisco Way.

Frisco chief innovation officer Jason Cooley said no other city in North Texas is operating with the same level of innovation as Frisco.

Where some cities incorporate innovative solutions in just a few industries, Frisco utilizes the skillset throughout the entire city.

“It’s really just part of our culture. We want innovation, and we welcome innovation,” Cooley said. “In every aspect of Frisco, we are looking at how we can do things in more innovative ways. It’s really the foundation of our city’s equilibrium.”

Although the city certainly utilizes innovative approaches across all sectors, it’s currently known as a ringleader for transportation innovation.

Leading transportation innovation

For years, city engineers have used innovative technology and mobility solutions to prepare Frisco’s infrastructure for future growth and development.

The city has tested many technologies through pilot programs to help determine the best solutions for transportation and mobility, according to the Frisco EDC website.

It was recognized as the second city in the nation to use connected-vehicle technologies, which enables the city’s traffic signal network to share data with consumer vehicles through platforms such as Audi Connect, Traffic Technology Services and CUBIC’s Trafficware. This automatically adjusts signal timing at intersections to optimize traffic flow.

City departments also use the Waze Connected Citizens Program to share travel information data, such as vehicle crashes, traffic hazards and road closures, allowing drivers to adjust their travel routes and improve individual vehicle mobility.

Obtaining most of its data from drivers who report incidents, the Waze app also allows the city to use the crowdsourced data to optimize traffic system operations and minimize emergency response times.

In addition to data-sharing and connected-vehicle technologies, Frisco has also been at the forefront of autonomous vehicle technologies.

In July 2018, Frisco became the first city in Texas to test-drive autonomous shuttles when the Frisco Transportation Management Association launched an eight-month pilot program with Drive.ai’s self-driving, on-demand shuttles. The shuttles successfully carried nearly 5,000 passengers on a fixed route between Hall Park, The Star and Frisco Station, according to the city website.

Frisco is also one of the first five cities in the U.S. to pilot autonomous deliveries through FedEx’s Roxo in 2019. The on-demand delivery robot was designed to automate the last mile of package deliveries, which is often the most expensive length of travel for transportation companies.

In 2020, the city partnered with Starship Technologies, which deployed 35 personal delivery devices in West Frisco to test food and grocery deliveries.

During the 10-week pilot program, the robots delivered groceries across major roads and intersections, traveling a total of 4,621 miles, averaging 59 miles per day.

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