Municipalities across Wisconsin are searching for less expensive and more efficient ways to maintain public roads, decrease traffic congestion and offer more parking options, which is driving demand for smart city concepts across the state, experts say.

There are 602 municipalities in the state, and they all want to know how to best manage, and maximize, their investments in transportation, said Jerry Deschane, executive director, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, during a discussion about smart cities at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Innovation Center Thursday.

The event was hosted by the Wisconsin Tech Council.

Some of those concepts are already in place, or are being developed, Deschane said. In the Fond du Lac area, officials are using technology that can sends alerts to emergency response teams and fire departments when trains are approaching railroad crossings, giving them ample time to find alternative routes, he said.

As another example, in Madison, a team of researchers and students at the Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory at UW-Madison’s College of Engineering are working with the city of Madison’s traffic engineers on connected and autonomous vehicles. The research team at UW-Madison is preparing this spring to buy an autonomous electric shuttle that will loop on a 1.5-mile route from the Capitol Square to the Capitol East District. Read the full story here.