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White House honors Port of Pittsburgh official

| Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 2:12 p.m.
James R. McCarville, the Port of Pittsburgh Commission's executive director, was honored at the White House on Wednesday, May 8, 2013, as one of 12 Transportation Champions of Change nationally.

The Obama administration honored the leader of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission on Wednesday for advancing technology on waterways.

The White House named the commission's executive director, James R. McCarville, 67, one of 12 Transportation Champions of Change nationally.

“Clearly, the reason I was honored was the work of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission and its Wireless Waterway Committee, which was ... thousands of hours of volunteer service that they put into it,” said McCarville, a Ross resident, who was recognized during a ceremony at the White House.

About a decade ago, the commission partnered with Carnegie Mellon University students to develop a computerized virtual locking system, he said. Called SmartLock, it aids vessels entering a lock chamber in low-visibility conditions, McCarville said.

About three years ago, the commission and CMU started building a network system, the Wireless Waterway Project, that improves safety, security and scheduling for towboats, terminals, trains and trucks, he said.

“We will be able to link a lot of cameras, data sources and other facilities along the rivers into a network that we would be able to deliver to the Coast Guard,” McCarville said.

The commission also partnered with the Army Corps of Engineers and the towing industry on the advancements, McCarville said. A local test of the Wireless Waterway Project will take place in June, he said.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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