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Recently Fairlawn has been in the news as part of the State’s “DriveOhio” program that is “looking to build Ohio’s infrastructure for smart mobility and to facilitate smart mobility innovations.” In layman’s terms, the State is looking for ways that the Internet and Internet-enabled technology (including cars) can improve our roads.

There have been six communities selected for this program, with Fairlawn being the only selected city outside the Columbus area. The CBS headline of “driverless cars” is only part of the story.

DriveOhio reached out to Fairlawn because of the FairlawnGig fiber network and its accompanying Wi-Fi capabilities. These factors are what is needed to monitor and communicate with driverless cars. The FairlawnGig network allows car manufactures to test tomorrow’s technologies in a community that has the broadband speeds of tomorrow.

Fairlawn’s role in the program involves testing driverless cars along West Market Street, with plans to begin this summer.  Fairlawn’s city-wide fiber access as well as the numerous FarlawnGig-installed Wi-Fi access points along West Market Street make Fairlawn a perfect test bed for driverless cars as well as other “smart” transportation emerging technologies.

To date, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) and DriveOhio have received permission from Fairlawn to test next generation transportation solutions and autonomous vehicles. Before specific plans move forward, a rock-solid safety plan would be put into place. Plans going forward will include the City as well as the fire and police departments.

If Fairlawn moves forward with any driverless car testing, updates will be available on FairlawnGig’s website, and social media The current plan also includes digital signage along West Market Street to provide a heads-up for drivers.

This move is part of an effort in the city to improve mobility in high-traffic areas. Soon area traffic signals including those on West Market Street and the Medina Road/Montrose area have been equipped with ODOT controllers to help link all the traffic signals in the Montrose/Fairlawn system.  If you travel this route, you will notice a smoother traffic flow as changes will allow traffic systems to be more responsive and adaptable depending on conditions. 

“Fairlawn is on the radar in the State of Ohio for cutting-edge technology, which is where we want to be,” explains Fairlawn Mayor William Roth.