Imagine the following: A street light goes out in your neighborhood. The city is notified immediately through technology and sends a repair crew before you need to call. You make it to work faster because a computer sensor reads the heavy traffic at one intersection and communicates the information to traffic signals down the road, which are then able to adjust to the real-time traffic conditions. Your elderly mom is unable to drive to a favorite shopping center, but an autonomous shuttle picks her up and takes her there. Actually, these are not imaginary scenarios. They are examples of emerging transportation technologies the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) is currently testing or considering for a unique field-pilots program. As the regional transportation planning agency that serves all residents in the region, MAG continually monitors and evaluates smart mobility systems. But before large-scale investments are made, it’s important to know if the technology works in the real world and the scale at which it can be applied. And that’s where MAG’s new field pilots program fits in. MAG is a partner in The Connective, a public-private effort to identify smart technologies to enhance or replace outdated systems or infrastructure. Already serving a key role in data collection and analysis for the initiative, late last year MAG took the next step: contracting with a variety of qualified vendors and contractors to conduct field pilots to better test and study emerging technologies. “MAG is in the process of developing a new Regional Transportation Plan that will guide transportation investments in this region for decades to come,” said MAG Executive Director Eric Anderson. “We want the best, safest, and most up-to-date transportation system possible to serve our rapidly growing region. The Emerging Technologies Program means being on the cutting edge in deploying new technologies and determining how they fit into our new Plan.” One goal in developing the Regional Transportation Plan is to allow enough flexibility to be able to adapt to future systems that haven’t been invented yet or been widely adopted. A draft plan is expected in 2021. In the meantime, it is important to note that not every technology will be right for every area of the Valley. The field pilots program also is used to help MAG member agencies solve problems specific to their communities. “Another role MAG can play is that of a technology matchmaker,” said Anderson. “Different communities have different problems to solve, and a key goal of the field pilots is to match up appropriate solutions to individual community needs.” To better provide in-depth evaluations of the technology pilots, MAG formed partnerships with Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University. Anderson said the collaboration provides the technical expertise to objectively evaluate promising technologies and then work together to facilitate their deployment within the region.