ITS Strategic Research Plan,

ITS Strategic Research Plan 2010-2014, Executive Summary. Transforming Transportation Through Connectivity, USDOT/RITA. Background showing bits and bytes of data being transmitted within multi-modal environment. Images of vehicles and infrastructure from maritime (a ship), subway, automobile, light rail vehicle, truck, and bus.
Cover photos, top to bottom:
©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.
1 - Connectivity
3 - Benefits
4 - Conclusion

The U.S. Department of Transportation ("the Department") provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. The Department periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its program and processes to ensure continuous quality improvements.


The United States Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers' names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object report.

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Images without attribution are courtesy of the U.S. DOT and their partners conducting the research.


It's a concept that is rapidly changing our daily habits: real-time information gives us the power to make decisions and act on opportunities, provides us with details needed to understand our fast-paced world, and brings us an awareness of how our systems work. The start of the 21st century introduced advanced wireless technologies to our lives, and already they are having a dramatic impact on our connections to family, friends, and the social and entertainment worlds. These technologies are proliferating throughout the business, political, and educational arenas, changing our relationship to information and creating an awareness of situations that previously would have gone unnoticed. These technologies are redefining how we access knowledge; for the realm of transportation, this means unprecedented awareness about what is happening to and throughout our transportation system at all times.

Transportation Connectivity˜

The U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) Program aims to bring connectivity to transportation through the application of advanced wireless technologies—powerful technologies that enable transformative change. Envision:

Enabling the Vision˜

The vision of the ITS Program for the next five years is to provide the Nation with a national, multi-modal transportation system that features a connected transportation environment among vehicles of all types, the infrastructure, and portable devices that will serve the public good by leveraging technology to maximize safety, mobility, and environmental performance.

To make this vision a reality, researchers; vehicle manufacturers (automotive, commercial vehicle, and bus); consumer electronics and telecommunications firms; and Federal, State, and local transportation officials are coming together to define a working relationship that will further research and develop new markets. By enabling wireless connectivity with and between vehicles, between vehicles and the roadway, and with portable devices, the ITS Program has the potential to transform surface transportation safety, mobility, and environmental impacts in our lifetimes.

This document is the Executive Summary of the ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2010–20141. It describes a focused research agenda for delivering transportation connectivity to the Nation. Building on the last set of recently completed research initiatives2, this new research portfolio will continue efforts necessary for researching, prototyping, testing and evaluating, and transferring the next generation of ITS technology into the marketplace. Ultimately, this research portfolio will result in a fully-connected, information-rich transportation system for the Nation.


Highway safety is one of our Nation's major public health challenges, responsible for 37,261 fatalities in 20083 and the leading cause of death for people between the ages of 4 and 34.4 The economic impact of motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roadways is estimated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at $230.6 billion a year, nearly 2.3 percent of the Nation's gross domestic product, or an average of $820 for every person living in the country. NHTSA has reported that the average roadway fatality has economic costs of $977,000, while the costs associated with a critically injured crash survivor surpass $1 million.5 Although these statistics reflect a recent decrease in the number of fatalities, it remains an unacceptably high loss of lives.

Traffic congestion is an $87.2 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy—more than $750 for every U.S. traveler. Americans waste 4.2 billion hours in traffic every year or nearly one full work (or vacation) week for every traveler.6

Vehicle fuel utilization and its tailpipe emissions are the single largest human-made source of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. These fumes cause pulmonary diseases and premature deaths. Children are particularly vulnerable, as poor air quality triggers asthma which is the number one cause of hospitalization among children and is having a major impact on our schools, emergency rooms, and healthcare system.7 Additionally, vehicles that are stationary, idling, or traveling at reduced speeds due to congestion emit more than those that are in free flow conditions. Therefore, technologies that reduce fuel consumption, idling, and vehicle miles traveled while reducing acute congestion could play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in major cities, around ports and freight hubs, and on major roads and corridors.

Why Now?

In 2010, a timely opportunity presents itself to the Department—to plan for the delivery of the next generation of ITS research. The planning process began in early 2008 with outreach to stakeholders and the public, input from modal decision makers and technical staff, and a trend analysis (see textbox on next page).

emerged as a significant research need driven by the new, powerful, and dynamic technologies that are available on the market now or are just on the horizon. The predominant research question for industry is how to safely harness their potential for transportation. It is a timely research question—existing ITS research initiatives are ending, and the previous Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (VII) Program's proof-of-concept test results both proved the capability for transportation connectivity and identified the remaining research questions and required efforts. The confluence of these events has significantly influenced the direction of this ITS Strategic Research Plan.

Noteworthy Trends in Transportation
Trends in
  • Safety focus
  • Continued high fatality rates
  • Growing congestion
  • Growing interest in transit
  • Growing environmental awareness
  • Emphasis on performance measurement and management
  • Troubled transportation financing
  • Road pricing and financing alternatives
  • Transportation impacts on livability
Trends in
  • Wireless technology boom
  • Strong consumer market
  • Fast pace of innovation
  • Expectation for information
  • Ubiquitous connectivity
  • Person-to-person networking
Figure 1: Trends in wireless connectivity. See link below image for detailed description.
Figure 1: Trends in wireless connectivity.
See detailed description
Figure 2: Growth in mobile wireless devices, 1997-2007. See link below image for detailed description.
Figure 2: Growth in mobile wireless devices, 1997–2007
(subscribers per 100 inhabitants).
See detailed description
Figure 3: Consumer interest in transportation information. See link below image for detailed description.
Figure 3: Consumer interest in transportation information.
(POI = Points of Interest)
See detailed description

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Enacting the Vision

The ITS Program's Strategic Research Plan has been defined through a multi-modal Departmental effort and informed through stakeholder input. The resulting research program is administered as a collaborative partnership between the ITS Joint Program Office (JPO), part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), and modal administrations that include:

To explore the potentially transformative capabilities of wireless technologies to make transportation safer, smarter, greener and, ultimately, enhance livability for Americans, the centerpiece of the ITS Program's research plan is a program called Connected Vehicle—a crossmodal, research initiative that aims to create safe, interoperable connectivity between vehicles (automobiles, trucks, motor coaches, transit vehicles, and other fleets), infrastructure, and mobile devices.

IntelliDriveSM logo - Safer, Smarter, Greener

The Connected Vehicle research is designed to achieve a deployable system. To do so, critical success factors were identified, each of which must be addressed and resolved for Connected Vehicle to be implementable. These critical success factors define three distinct areas for research:

From these critical success factors, programmatic research questions were derived (summarized below). Using these questions, research programs were formed that are organized and focused specifically on resolving these questions and other technical issues, as a means for achieving the goal of deployment.

Critical Success Factors

  • Are applications available and benefits validated?
  • What is the minimum infrastructure needed to create the maximum benefit? How much, where, when, and what type?
  • What is the degree of market penetration required for effectiveness?
  • Is the technology stable, reliable, secure, and interoperable?
  • Are international standards available to ensure interoperability?
  • What policies, governance, and funding are required for sustainability?
  • How to address public concerns for privacy and ensure that applications do not cause driver distraction?
All must be answered to be deployable

This Executive Summary describes four major components of the ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2010–2014:

Finally, this Executive Summary concludes by describing the expected benefits of delivering the next generation of ITS to the Nation.

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The Connected Vehicle Applications

Connected Vehicle applications are being developed to address real-world problems. The table on this and the following page depicts significant transportation challenges and identifies how the Connected Vehicle vision and applications are intended to address them.

  Problem Vision  
Image of an accident scene.
© tillsonburg
Safety Problem Imagine: Image of a vehicle with green half circles indicating transmission of data.
  • 37,261 deaths/year (US)
  • 5.8 million crashes/year (US)
  • Direct economic cost of $230.6 billion
  • Leading cause of death for ages 4 to 34
  • Your vehicle can "see" vehicles you can't see
  • Your vehicle informs you of roadway conditions and hazards that you can't see
  • Your vehicle knows the speed and location of approaching vehicles
Connected Vehicle safety applications are designed to increase situational awareness and reduce or eliminate crashes through vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) data transmission that supports: driver advisories, driver warnings, and vehicle and/or infrastructure controls. With these applications, Connected Vehicle may potentially address up to 82 percent of crash scenarios8 with unimpaired drivers, preventing tens of thousands of automobile crashes every year (further research will incorporate heavy vehicle crashes including buses, motor carriers, and rail).
Image of traffic congestion.
tillsonburg; Stouffer
Mobility Problem Imagine:  
  • Traffic congestion $87.2 billion annual drain on the U.S. economy...
    • 4.2 billion lost hours
    • 2.8 billion gallons of wasted fuel
  • Managing the transportation system as if you knew where every vehicle (automobiles, trucks, motor coaches, and transit vehicles) was in real time
  • Planning for growth patterns as if you could see complete traffic patterns around development
  • Planning travel as if you knew real-time options on all roads, transit, and parking along your route
Connected Vehicle mobility applications provide a connected, data-rich travel environment. The network captures real-time data from equipment located on-board vehicles (automobiles, trucks, and buses) and within the infrastructure. The data are transmitted wirelessly and are used by transportation managers in a wide range of dynamic, multi-modal applications to manage the transportation system for optimum performance.
  Problem Vision  
  Environment Problem Imagine:  
Pie chart depicting the major sources of emissions.  Categories include: Major transportation (12%), Cars and trucks (22%), Factories, home heating systems (33%)
  • 2.8 billion gallons of fuel wasted each year
  • 22% CO2 emissions from vehicles
  • Managing your system for environmental and weather events as if you knew specific information about the road and vehicle
Connected Vehicle environmental applications both generate and capture environmentally relevant real-time transportation data and use this data to create actionable information to support and facilitate "green" transportation choices. They also assist system users and operators with "green" transportation alternatives or options, thus reducing the environmental impacts of each trip. For instance, informed travelers may decide to avoid congested routes, take alternate routes, public transit, or reschedule their trip — all of which can make their trip more fuel-efficient and eco-friendly. Data generated from Connected Vehicle systems can also provide operators with detailed, real-time information on vehicle location, speed, and other operating conditions. This information can be used to improve system operation. On-board equipment may also advise vehicle owners on how to optimize the vehicle's operation and maintenance for maximum fuel efficiency.

As described on pages 20–28, Connected Vehicle technology and policy underpin the successful development and deployment of these applications by:

  • Providing a platform for interoperability, security, and access that is based on a logical, systems approach.
  • Distinguishing the appropriate boundaries that effectively leverage public-sector funding versus private-sector financing and market opportunities.
  • Defining minimum governance requirements that use regulatory actions only when fact-based evidence (based on field testing and evaluation) points to its effectiveness.
  • Identifying options for resolving institutional issues that enable successful deployment and sustainable market development and growth.
  • Providing a platform for effective technology and knowledge transfer.

The following pages describe the specific Connected Vehicle applications research areas:

  • Safety:
       Vehicle to Vehicle Communications for Safety
       Vehicle to Infrastructure Communications for Safety
  • Mobility:
       Real-Time Data Capture and Management
       Dynamic Mobility Applications
  • Environment:
       Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS)
       Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications

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Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communications for Safety ...

... is the dynamic wireless exchange of data between nearby vehicles that offers the opportunity for significant safety improvements.

The vision for V2V research is that each vehicle on the roadway (inclusive of automobiles, trucks, transit vehicles, and motorcycles) will be able to communicate with other vehicles, and that this rich set of data and communications will support a new generation of active safety applications and systems.

Research Goals:

  • To employ advanced V2V wireless technologies to reduce, mitigate, or prevent 82 percent of crashes by unimpaired drivers.
  • To establish robust DSRC standards for safety-critical applications.
  • To accelerate in-vehicle technology to ensure value to the first V2V vehicles.

Research Questions:

  • Are applications effective and are benefits validated?
  • What infrastructure is needed? How much, where, when, and what type?
  • What is the degree of market penetration needed and what is the required timing for effectiveness?
  • What existing technologies can be leveraged to accelerate in-vehicle equipment?
  • What are the special needs and applications for trucks, motor coaches, and transit vehicles?

Research Outcomes:

The outcome of this research is to validate sufficiently the potential benefits of V2V technologies and to develop the factual evidence needed to support a decision for potential NHTSA rulemaking.

Research Plan

The objective of the V2V safety research program is four-fold:

  1. Develop V2V active safety applications that address the most critical crash scenarios (listed below in Track 4)
  2. Develop a rigorous estimation of safety benefits and an assessment of potential regulatory action by NHTSA by 2013.
  3. Work with industry and enable market factors that will accelerate V2V benefits through in-vehicle V2V technologies and through the use of aftermarket and/or retrofit options to ensure that the first V2V-equipped vehicle owners find value in their investment.
  4. Building from the results of the VII program's proof-of-concept tests, complete the development and testing of the V2V communications technologies and standards.

Success will be measured by progress on:

The ITS Program has defined a collaborative research process that will engage the appropriate parties in a multi-track program to address the breadth of technical and non-technical V2V research needs:

The results achieved through the V2V safety research program will be indicators of an environment in which V2V can flourish. The Department and its modal partners will engage the automotive, truck, and bus manufacturers and suppliers, along with other partner groups, through Connected Vehicle working group participation. In addition, the Department will work with stakeholder groups to define effective technology transfer opportunities. Ultimately, this research will support a decision with NHTSA in 2013 on whether a regulatory decision for deployment is warranted.

Drawing depicting vehicle-to-vehicle data transmission between an automobile and truck, a truck and a bus, the bus and the automobile.
Figure 4: V2V connectivity.
Drawing of an automobile emitting a frequent 'Here I Am' message.
Figure 5: Here I AM broadcast data message.

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Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) Communications for Safety...

... is the wireless exchange of critical safety and operational data between vehicles and highway infrastructure, intended primarily to avoid motor vehicle crashes and enable a wide range of other safety, mobility, and environmental benefits.

The vision for the V2I research is to enable safety applications that are designed to avoid or mitigate vehicle crashes (inclusive of automobiles, trucks, motor coaches, and transit vehicles), particularly for those crash scenarios not addressed by V2V. It is also focused on creating national interoperability to support infrastructure and vehicle deployments.

Research Goals:

  • To employ advanced V2 wireless technologies to reduce, mitigate, or prevent an additional 12 percent of crashes.
  • To develop signal warnings that support active safety.

Research Questions:

  • Are applications effective and are benefits validated?
  • What is the minimum infrastructure needed for maximum benefit at the point of initial deployment?
  • What is the degree of market penetration required for effectiveness?
  • Are there unique applications for specialty vehicles (transit bus, light rail, trams, trucks, etc)?

Research Outcomes:

  • Understand and plan for the minimum level of infrastructure needed to support V2V and V2I safety and operational efficiency applications.
  • Based on test results and stakeholder inputs, research the needs and impacts associated with developing policy guidance or a possible regulatory decision in support of deployment.
  • Enable additional safety and mobility applications through the use of signal phase and timing (SPaT) data exchange.
  • Enable and facilitate interoperable, cost-effective infrastructure deployment.

Research Plan

The objective of the technical V2I safety research program is three-fold:

  1. Develop V2I active safety applications that address some of the most critical crash scenarios, particularly using the signal phase and timing (SPaT) capability.
  2. Develop a rigorous estimation of safety benefits that will contribute to the assessment of possible safety regulations and/or guidelines.
  3. Provide objective data and information that will support decision making regarding nationwide infrastructure deployment.

The program research will involve multiple transportation agencies and modes. It will concentrate on key FHWA, FTA, and FMCSA application areas of interest, including intersection safety, run-off-road prevention, speed management, transit communications and operations, and commercial vehicle enforcement and operations. In addition, exploratory research on V2I safety for commuter, freight, and heavy rail will investigate data interoperability and communication to support a variety of applications, including grade crossing operations, track surveillance, and Right-of-Way detection.

Due to the great variety of vehicle and infrastructure safety systems currently installed and forthcoming, the program will also emphasize the need for consistent, widely applicable standards and protocols.

The key to success in this research area is the definition of minimum infrastructure needed to ensure maximum benefit from the applications. Success will be further measured by progress on:

Through collaborative research, the ITS Program will engage the appropriate parties in a multitrack approach that addresses the breadth of technical and non-technical V2I research needs:

Ultimately, the results of the V2I safety research program will develop a foundation for developing safety applications supporting infrastructure and vehicle communication.

Drawing depicting a red traffic signal sending a 'Stop Ahead' message into a vehicle onto a PND.
Figure 6: Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) broadcast message.

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Real-Time Data Capture and Management...

... is the creation and expansion of access to high-quality, real-time, multi-modal transportation data that is captured from connected vehicles (automobiles, buses, trucks, fleets), mobile devices, and infrastructure.

The vision for the Real-Time Data Capture and Management research is the active acquisition and systematic provision of integrated, multi-source data to enhance current operational practices and transform future surface transportation systems management.

Research Goals:

  • To systematically capture real-time, multi-modal data from connected vehicles, devices, and infrastructure.
  • To develop data environments that enable integration of high-quality data from multiple sources for transportation management and performance measurement.

Research Questions:

  • What data is available today from both traditional and non-traditional sources? What is the quality?
  • How can probe data be integrated with traditional data sources to support traffic/transit/freight applications?

Research Outcomes:

The outcomes of this research are to develop data environments and demonstrations that show the value of ubiquitous, real-time, multi-modal information.

Research Plan

The objective of the Real-Time Data Capture and Management research program is to enable the development of environments that support the collection, management, integration, and application of real-time transportation data.

Real-time data applications offer an ability to increase highway safety and operational efficiency nationwide. Not only will this data allow travelers to make better informed travel decisions, but public- and private-sector data on all modes and roads can be used to transform transportation management. Real-time data sets also have the potential to support a range of multi-modal mobility applications. Real-time information on parking availability and transit schedules can enable smarter mode choice decisions and efficiencies for travelers. Updated freight movement data assists commercial freight operators with optimizing operations. Overall, the information developed from the Real-Time Data Capture and Management research program will reveal opportunities for achieving greater efficiencies within our transportation systems.

Some types of data that can be captured and managed include: situational safety, environmental conditions, congestion data, and cost information derived from both traditional (traffic management centers, Automated Vehicle Location systems) and non-traditional (mobile devices, Connected Vehicle equipment) sources. Data can also be collected from sources that are generating data on elements of the transportation system such as toll facilities, parking facilities, and transit stations.

Results that are key to success in this research area include:

Success will be further measured by progress on:

The ITS Program will use a collaborative, multi-track approach to comprehensively address the Real- Time Data research needs:

This research program will build on the existing Real-Time Information Market Assessment and the recent Real-Time System Management Information Program. Collaboration is expected from a wide range of stakeholders to help guide the research program. Related U.S. DOT research programs, such as Dynamic Mobility Applications and the AERIS Program (see descriptions below), are anticipated to both define data requirements (and identify information gaps) as well as use real-time data sets that are developed under this program.

Figure 7: Real-Time data sources. Copyright Heinz Linke. See link below image for detailed description.
Figure 7: Real-Time data sources.
© Heinz Linke
see detailed description

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Dynamic Mobility Applications ...

... are the next generation of applications that transform mobility by providing transportation managers and systems operators with real-time monitoring and management tools to manage mobility between and across modes more effectively and travelers the ability for dynamic decision making. These applications capitalize on vehicle infrastructure connectivity, e.g., data from vehicle probes and other real-time DSRC and non-DSRC data sources.

The vision for dynamic mobility applications research is to provide significant improvements to mobility by: (1) introducing innovative methods for operating existing transportation systems based on the availability of new data sources and communications methods and (2) creating opportunities for greater multi-modal integration.

Research Goals:

  • To identify transformative applications and innovative methods to manage and operate transportation systems based on the availability of new data sources and communications methods.
  • To build the foundation for development of applications that can provide travelers and system operators greater access to realtime information about the transportation system to enable better decision making.

Research Questions:

  • What are the data needs for dynamic mobility monitoring and management?
  • What public-sector dynamic mobility applications are enabled by the availability of real-time data? Are they effective?
  • What technical guidance and support is needed for deployment?
  • What minimum infrastructure is needed for maximum benefit?

Research Outcome:

The outcome of this research is the development of the foundation (the concepts, requirements, specifications, analyses, tests, and metrics) needed for development of dynamic mobility applications.

Research Plan

The objective of the Dynamic Mobility Applications Research Program is to identify high-value applications for research and develop the tools, metrics, and concepts that form the foundation for applications development. The applications that will be evaluated are those that enable public-sector, multi-modal system management and:

Examples of multi-modal dynamic applications may include: measurement and prediction of system performance using probe data generated through DSRC and non-DSRC technologies; increasing intersection safety and efficiency through SPaT and geospatial information map (GID) technology; road weather management; transit management; freight operations; dynamic, real-time route planning and adjustment to emerging incidents; advanced parking management systems; or Integrated Corridor Management.

The first steps in this research program are to:

Success will be measured by progress on the development of a foundational platform (concept of operations, performance specifications, test results, etc.) that could encourage other entities (e.g., private sector entrepreneurs) to develop viable mobility applications. This program will coordinate with a range of stakeholder groups to foster software and application development.

The ITS Program will use a multi-track approach that addresses the breadth of research needs and includes:

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Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) ...

... are the capture, synthesis, and delivery of real-time, vehicle- and infrastructure-based, environmentally relevant information to support system management that advances environmental improvements within the transportation system.

The vision for AERIS research is to generate, capture, and analyze data to create actionable information that allows systems users and operators to make "green" transportation choices.

Research Goals:

  • To capture real-time environmental data from vehicles and integrate it with other sources for use in transportation management and performance improvement.
  • Create applications that use real-time data on environmental impact for use by transportation managers and travelers.

Research Questions:

  • What vehicle-based data is available? How can we collect environmentally-relevant data from the transportation system? Is it valid? Of good quality? Reliable? Is it the right data?
  • How will access to information impact transportation system user choices, system management choices, and overall transportation system performance with respect to the environment?
  • How can this program leverage the Connected Vehicle data sets and test beds? With probe vehicle data or weather data?
  • What applications would make the most positive overall impact on the environment?

Research Outcomes:

Real-time environmental data from all sources will be integrated and available for use in multimodal transportation management and performance improvement and will contribute to better environmental practices.

Research Plan

The objective of the AERIS research program is four-fold:

  1. To enable the public sector to manage transportation for environmental purposes.
  2. To establish definitive results on the potential of ITS data to positively affect the environment.
  3. To identify potential future regulatory needs for applying information technologies to environmental sustainability.
  4. To research the feasibility of integrating numerous, existing environmental data sources with Connected Vehicle technologies and leverage the capability of ubiquitous connectivity to provide real-time, environmentally-relevant actionable information.

At the core of this program is the idea of "facilitating green transportation choices." It is the intent of the program to:

Success will be measured by progress on:

The ITS Program will use a multi-track, collaborative approach that supports a rigorous research program. The AERIS program will leverage data from vehicles via Connected Vehicle research and data sets to:

This foundational research will identify opportunities for further research to develop specific ITS strategies for improving environmental decisions and outcomes by public agencies and consumers.

The research will be comprised of five major tracks:

The AERIS program will closely coordinate research with other ITS research programs such as the U.S. DOT's Road-Weather Research Program, the Dynamic Mobility Applications research program, and the Real Time Data Management and Capture research program.

Figure 8: Real-Time data sources. Copyright Heinz Linke. See link below image for detailed description.
Figure 8: Real-time, actionable transportation, weather, and environmental information
Calculators at: see detailed description

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Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications ...

... are the next generation of applications and services that assess, forecast, and address the impacts that weather has on roads, vehicles, and travelers. The applications and services are intended to capitalize on the previous Clarus Initiative research that has delivered a network of road weather information by integrating existing data sources. Through additional research, technology development, and community outreach, the Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications research will develop greater specificity regarding the impact that weather has on roadways and promote strategies and tools that mitigate those impacts. Such strategies will build upon decision support tools currently undergoing development, testing, and deployment (such as those developed under the Road Weather Management program, e.g., the Clarus Regional Demonstrations and the Maintenance Decision Support System (MDSS)).

In close coordination with and cutting across the efforts under the other Connected Vehicle research programs, the vision for the Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications research is to broaden the foundation of road weather data to include mobile sources and to focus the analysis on improving the ability to detect and forecast road weather and pavement conditions by specific roadway links.

Research Goals:

  • Identify the range of sources for collecting robust data that will support road condition and pavement forecasting, specifically focusing on the incorporation of mobile data information and data from public sector mobile sources such as fleets.
  • Develop algorithms and capabilities to translate mobile data into useable weather and road condition observations.
  • Incorporate these observations into effective management systems and the weather-responsive traffic management and advanced decision support tools.

Research Questions:

  • What vehicle-based or infrastructure-based data is available? What is the data quality and validity and where are the data gaps?
  • How can vehicle-based and mobile source data be processed and integrated with existing weather and road weather data to support forecasting of road and pavement conditions?
  • What are the most effective ways to convey road weather information to affect driver and operator behavior, and to incorporate it into broad safety and mobility applications?
  • What public sector applications are needed and what are their benefits?

Research Outcomes:

Reducing the adverse impacts that weather conditions have on the safety and operation of the Nation's roads is possible.

  • Providing the technology platforms, information, tools, and resources that can help surface transportation users and managers respond to weather events with effective strategies and programs.
  • Serving as a catalyst for the development of new products and services.

Research Plan

The Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications Program seeks to:

The research plan for 2010–2014 has a two- fold focus:

  1. The program will continue to invest in high-risk applied research to expand the breadth and capabilities of road weather data sources, technologies, traffic management and decision support tools, and information.
  2. The program will coordinate research with the Dynamic Mobility Applications, V2V and V2I Safety, and the AERIS Programs to determine how existing road weather technologies can be optimized by incorporation into the resulting applications from these programs.

The program uses a multi track approach to address the range of activities required for research:

Track 1: Technology and Application Development and Adoption

Track 2: Leverage Existing Technologies

Analyze how to maximize the use of available road weather information and technologies for greater safety and operational benefits by:

Track 3: Stakeholder Engagement

Track 4: Cross-Cutting Activities

The Road Weather Connected Vehicle Applications Program will invest in applied research in partnership with industry that addresses high-risk problems whose solutions benefit both manufacturers (in terms of enhanced or new products and markets) and agencies (in terms of being able to procure state-of-the-art technologies).

The program will promote the adoption of advanced technologies, techniques, and tools such as capturing and translating vehicle data into weather and pavement observations and utilizing that data to create more sophisticated applications and integrated decision support systems. The result is a research initiative that benefits state and local agencies, private weather providers, and the traveling public.

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The Connected Vehicle Technology

The development and deployment of a fully connected transportation system that makes the most of multi-modal, transformational applications requires a robust, underlying technological platform. The platform is a combination of well-defined technologies, interfaces, and processes that, combined, ensure safe, stable, interoperable, reliable system operations that minimize risk and maximize opportunities.

A successful platform will be developed through a process of thorough and considered research while meeting a set of rigorous criteria:

  • The platform will allow for growth, expandability, and incorporation of newly evolving technologies.
  • In knowing the architectural configuration and definition of interfaces, creative private-sector firms will be able to develop new applications that are not yet envisioned but remain for future imagination.
  • And finally, the platform will be developed based on the complexity and range of human behaviors that will interact with and impact upon the system.

For the ITS Program and its partners to deliver such a platform, further research is needed in the creation of standards for interoperability; security of the system; strategies that address the complexity of human behavior and risks associated with the driver's workload; and processes that define how travelers and equipment become a certified part of the system. Other technical research will also be pursued to identify and resolve technological limitations with positioning, scalability, and other technical issues.

The following represent some, but not all, of the critical research efforts over the next five years that will address the underlying technological platform and are described on the following pages:

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Harmonization of International Standards and Architecture around the Vehicle Platform ...

... is a process through which various stakeholders, vehicle and equipment manufacturers, standards organizations, and governments work together to agree on common standards.

The vision is for the ITS JPO, in partnership with NHTSA, to participate in international standards harmonization activities focusing on standards "around the vehicle platform:" that is, any standards needed to provide connectivity between vehicles and between vehicles and infrastructure.

Research Goals:

  • To globally harmonize Connected Vehicle technologies by taking an active role in developing and harmonizing standards and architecture around the vehicle platform.
  • To provide the standardization necessary for vehicles and infrastructure to communicate using widely available, affordable, and interoperable technologies that maximize safety and efficiency.

Research Outcomes:

Vehicle connectivity through harmonization of standards and architecture will reduce costs to industry and consumers in that hardware and/or software development costs will be spread over a larger user base, resulting in reduced unit costs. Differences between vehicles manufactured for different markets will also be minimized, allowing private-sector markets to have a greater set of global opportunities.

Research Plan

The objective of the Standards Harmonization research program is to work with the international standards community to harmonize standards and architecture in order to increase vehicle connectivity. Harmonization facilitates interoperability between products and systems, which can benefit transportation management agencies, vehicle manufacturers, equipment vendors, and others. By overcoming institutional and financial barriers to technology harmonization, stakeholders could realize lower life-cycle costs for the acquisition and maintenance of systems.

Efforts under this research program include collaboration with standards development organizations (SDOs), original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), and other stakeholders to seek agreement and provide appropriate incentives.

The program uses a multi-track approach to address the range of activities required for research:

As a global industry, it is critical to reduce barriers to standardization and achieve a broad agreement on harmonization that can benefit both the public and the motor vehicle industries. To that end, the Department has established a Joint Declaration of Intent on Research Cooperation in Cooperative Systems with the European Union (EU). The purpose of the agreement is to advance cooperation on research for information and communication technologies, as applied to transportation. The U.S. DOT/RITA and the European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate intend to identify the research areas that would benefit from a harmonized approach and which should be addressed by coordinated or joint research. In particular, the parties intend to make efforts to preclude the development and adoption of redundant standards and to support and accelerate the deployment and adoption of Cooperative Systems.

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Connected Vehicle Human Factors Research ...

... is research that is focused on understanding, assessing, planning for, and counteracting the effects of signals or system-generated messages that take the driver's eyes off the road (visual distraction), the driver's mind off the driving task (cognitive distraction), and the driver's hands off the steering wheel (manual distraction).

The vision for the Human Factors research is to address the number of new, competing visual and audible stimuli that create increasing demands for the driver's attention and comparatively greater driver workload in order to ensure that Connected Vehicle applications and technologies are not distracting.

Research Goals:

  • To provide drivers with safe advisories, alerts, and warnings through advanced vehicle technologies — both built into the original equipment and brought into the vehicle (portable or nomadic technologies) — that increase highway safety and offer drivers and passengers the promise of enhanced safety, comfort, security, and convenience.
  • To control and mitigate the ever-present and growing threat to safety represented by driver distraction, which is a factor in many crashes.
  • To evaluate driver distractions and other human factors related to ITS, leveraging the convergent findings of epidemiological and experimental studies, as well as analyses of crash data.

Research Outcomes:

The outcomes are intended to eliminate distractions related to Connected Vehicle devices as a contributing factor to crashes.

Research Plan

Operating the radio, eating, passenger noise, and fatigue are among a variety of distractions that drivers have always encountered. With the recent growth in technologies and portable devices used in vehicles, drivers now face an increasing number of distractions, further highlighting the need for human factors research.

The objective of the research program in Human Factors for Connected Vehicle is to assess, counteract, and ultimately eliminate possible driver distraction from Connected Vehicle technologies. The program aims to research and implement technology-based solutions that could deter drivers from multitasking and reduce vehicular sources of distraction.

Using a cooperative and cost-sharing approach, the program will work with NHTSA and other DOT agencies and vehicle manufacturers, operators, and equipment suppliers. This collaborative effort will raise public awareness about the distracted driving problem and encourage vehicle and equipment manufacturers to design interfaces with minimal demands on driver workload. The program goals outlined below will guide the overall research. Success factors include the ability to:

Similar to the other research programs, the Human Factors Research program will use a multi-track approach for this research:

The Human Factors Research program is a highly collaborative effort that addresses the effectiveness of safety applications by evaluating any potential issues around driver distraction. The program will work toward mitigating any distracting by products from using In-Vehicle Information Systems (IVIS) and develop technology-based solutions.

Figure 9: Driving Simulator. Image of a person sitting in a driving simulator using the handheld technology to navigate the screens in front of him. Copyright Transportation Institute, 2004.
Figure 9: Driving simulator. © Texas Transportation Institute, 2004

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Connected Vehicle Systems Engineering ...

... is a structured process by which a system is logically, physically, and functionally defined. The outcome of implementing a systems engineering process is a set of documents that describe a system's architecture, interfaces, and requirements.

The vision for the systems engineering research is to update the Connected Vehicle Concept of Operation to include the broadening of the scope of the concept, update the System Architecture to accommodate the new definition of the system, and provide recommendations for updates to standards that define system elements. A contractor will execute the process that will convert stakeholder requirements into the new system definition. From this process will emerge the first set of security requirements for Connected Vehicle.

Research Goals:

  • To describe and define the elements of Connected Vehicle system.
  • To update the existing documentation such that it reflects changes that occurred in the transition from the VII concept to Connected Vehicle and reflects input from key stakeholder groups.

Research Outcomes:

This research will result in a set of critical products that define Connected Vehicle as a comprehensive and interoperable system:

  • A revised ConOps for Connected Vehicle.
  • An updated Connected Vehicle System Architecture showing all components and interfaces, and identifying how security processes will ensure the integrity of the system and protect the privacy of its users.
  • A refined System Requirements Specification (SRS) that will result in inputs to standards updates.
  • Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation (AMS) tools for use in evaluation.

Research Plan

The existing documents that describe the technology platform for Connected Vehicle —the concept of operations, the architecture, the standards interfaces, and the system requirements—are based on the work done to establish the VII system and the requirements of the DSRC technologies. In 2008, the VII architecture was opened up to include both DSRC- and non-DSRC-based technologies, and the program became the Connected Vehicle Program.

To complete the research needed for the Connected Vehicle technology, a systems engineering process will be used to update the critical foundational documents. In using the systems engineering approach, the ITS Program looks to ensure that the final products are comprehensive and thorough.

A critical first task will be the solicitation of requirements from Connected Vehicle stakeholders. Representatives from the following ITS industries will be invited to participate in requirements gathering workshops: the automotive industry, the transportation management industry, the traffic signal controller industry, the telecommunications industry, the commercial vehicle operators (CVO), the vehicle aftermarket and retrofit providers, transit operators, and rail operators. These workshops will occur in 2010 and form the basis for the iterative development of updated and new documents that will include:

The workshop will be the first attempt at defining security requirements for Connected Vehicle. Security requirements occur at a number of levels:

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Connected Vehicle Certification ...

... is the process of ensuring that system components meet the necessary requirements to perform as intended. Certification ensures that components that are manufactured according to Connected Vehicle requirements will be trusted by the system and by users.

The vision for the Certification research is to work in close cooperation with public and private partners to establish appropriate certification requirements for equipment.

Research Goals:

  • To work with industry to define certification needs and to develop supporting test methods and tools.
  • To develop a plan so that in the future, certification activities will become selfsustaining through fees for testing; development of new requirements and test methods will be shaped by the organizations seeking those requirements.

Research Outcomes:

The outcomes are intended to deliver:

  • Nationwide interoperability of system components.
  • Elimination of inherent risks to consumer safety, security, and privacy in the event of a whole or partial system breakdown.
  • Establishment of an oversight structure (governance structure) that will provide the processes and procedures for system access as well as system enforcement.
  • An open, well-defined process that allows manufacturers to know the system requirements in order to provide trustworthy components.

Research Plan

A successful Connected Vehicle deployment must address the inherent risks to consumer safety, security, and privacy associated with a system breakdown. With national interoperability comes the opportunity to establish national standards and criteria for certification of individual products that will have access to the system, system processes, and operational procedures. Because this is a new high-risk industry without an established consumer base, the Federal Government finds that an appropriate role is to work with industry to develop certification processes and procedures independently. The ultimate form that a certifying entity would take, and the role of Government in oversight and enforcement of requirements are yet to be determined and will be investigated as part of both the technical research program as well as the Connected Vehicle Policy research program.

Certification research will be primarily focused on understanding the needs for device compliance, system security, and privacy requirements. The ITS Program will conduct the following research activities in support of certification:

Milestones for certification activities must match related milestones in the other program roadmaps. For instance, a 2013 milestone for potential rulemaking on equipment requirements in vehicles must be matched by a similar milestone to have certification requirements and processes established in time for implementation of the rule. More specific milestones will be established in conjunction with the development of the individual program roadmaps.

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Connected Vehicle Test Environment(s) ...

... are real-world, operational test beds that offer the supporting vehicles, infrastructure, and equipment to serve the needs of public- and private-sector Connected Vehicle testing and certification activities.

The vision for the test environment research is to establish a minimum of one test bed that can support continued research, testing, and demonstration of Connected Vehicle concepts, standards, applications, and innovative products. Test environments will also serve as a precursor or foundation for State and local Connected Vehicle deployments. They are expected to generate sustainable markets for the private sector, as the test environment will enable products and applications that will deliver benefits to State and local consumers who purchase them.

Research Goals:

  • To operate, manage, and maintain the existing Michigan test bed for use by organizations and researchers in both the public and the private sectors, inclusive of the ITS Program's testing of Connected Vehicle standards and safety-, mobility-, and environment-related Connected Vehicle applications.
  • To enhance and/or modify the existing test bed and establish it as a model for other test beds.
  • To research, develop, and prototype a set of generic management processes, equipment, and back-end services.

Research Outcomes:

The outcome of this research will result in the establishment of an accessible Connected Vehicle test bed in Michigan for the public and private sectors to pursue research, testing, and demonstrations on innovative, next generation ITS technologies. The test bed will help establish requirements for future test beds that will provide the State and local foundation for Connected Vehicle deployment.

Research Plan

A key element in the culmination of the VII research was a set of proof-of-concept tests that were conducted in 2008 using field (roadside) installations in Michigan and California, with a network control center located in a Herndon, Virginia facility. The findings from this testing form the foundation of this ITS Strategic Research Plan, and its recommendations are reflected in the structure of the Connected Vehicle technology, applications, and policy research programs.

In early 2009, with the re-branding of the VII initiative as "Connected Vehicle, the Department has been assessing its options with regard to the test bed in Michigan. Although there are known limitations with the current facility, it represents a major investment on the part of the Department and has great potential value in carrying out the anticipated tests and demonstrations described within this next five-year research plan.

To realize and maximize that value, the Department is conducting two concurrent activities pertaining to the Michigan test bed:

An additional focus of this effort is to develop and prototype a set of generic management processes, equipment, and back-end services that are needed in support of test bed operations and, eventually, Connected Vehicle deployments. These processes, equipment, and services will be the mechanism that enables the management, oversight, and general operations of the Connected Vehicle system at all levels (State, local, regional, national, as appropriate). They will be developed and prototyped at the Michigan test bed but will be extensible to all early test beds and early deployments.

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Connected Vehicle Policy and Institutional Issues

Research Goal:

To structure a comprehensive research agenda that enables a successful and sustainable deployment of Connected Vehicle, addresses institutional issues, and provides options for a policy foundation.

Research Questions:

  • What policy or legislation is required to successfully launch and sustain Connected Vehicle?
  • Do these address the institutional issues?
  • Are the options publicly acceptable?
  • What entities will potentially fund, own, and govern Connected Vehicle systems, components, and data?

Research Outcomes:

The outcomes of the research incorporate the following:

  • Research and analysis that produces a range of viable options for policies, legislative/regulatory options, governance structures, investment models, market forces, and resolutions to institutional issues related to Connected Vehicle.
  • The combination of the options with basic deployment scenarios to illustrate a set of alternative, viable, more richly detailed deployment scenarios for Connected Vehicle.
  • The development of concepts and recommendations that will be presented for discussion.

Connected Vehicle Policy and Institutional Issues Research is the research and analysis that will:

The vision for the Policy research is one of a collaborative effort among the Department, key industry stakeholders, vehicle manufacturers, state and local governments, and representative associations. Collectively, this group will structure and conduct a research agenda that results in the successful deployment of Connected Vehicle for the Nation.

Research Plan

The first track of the research is focused on developing a set of systems definitions of Connected Vehicle or deployment scenarios that describe alternative visions for how Connected Vehicle might result in deployment for the Nation. The deployment scenarios will enable stakeholders to identify infrastructure requirements and the minimum level of infrastructure needed to gain the maximum benefit.

Alternative deployment scenarios also form the basis for the Department, stakeholders, and experts to further research and analyze Connected Vehicle opportunities and options. Additional tracks will build from these deployment scenarios to research:

Answers to these critical questions are at the core of whether Connected Vehicle will be deployed. While research may result in convergence around one viable deployment scenario, it is possible that it may also result in multiple, feasible scenarios. A fifth track of research has been defined to compare the alternative scenarios for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and risks; analyze the trade-offs; and develop recommendations for a robust policy and institutional foundation for Connected Vehicle deployment.

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Mode-Specific ITS Research

Although Connected Vehicle research is a central part of the ITS Program, additional ITS research will be conducted that reinforces the overall vision of ITS. Specifically, a set of mode-specific research programs are expected to further the Department's goal of leveraging technology to maximize safety, mobility, and environmental performance. The mode-specific ITS research programs include:

Photos, top to bottom: ©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.

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Active Traffic Management

... are the market-ready technologies and innovative operational approaches for managing traffic congestion within the existing infrastructure.

The vision for Active Traffic Management research is to allow transportation agencies to increase traffic flow, improve travel time reliability, and optimize available capacity throughout the transportation network.

Research Goal:

  • To identify the state-of-the-art/ state-of-the-art practice and to provide recommendations to bridge gaps through research.

Research Questions:

  • What are the performance targets, operational constraints, and business rules required to support active traffic management?
  • When should ATM strategies be enabled and disabled?
  • What are the impacts on the transportation facility and system?
  • What modifications to existing simulation models are needed to accurately model the ATM at different levels of control?
  • How do we improve the planning models to include ATM?

Research Outcomes:

By deploying market-ready technologies and strategies, an agency can evolve from monitoring and responding to congestion problems to an operational strategy that manipulates flow rates, capacity, and demand throughout the network.

Research Plan

Active Traffic Management (ATM) offers significant potential for reducing freeway congestion without the need for building additional lanes or infrastructure. By using real-time information and technologies, transportation managers can optimize available capacity, increase traffic flow, improve travel time reliability, decrease primary/secondary incidents, and improve the uniformity of driver behavior.

The program builds upon existing research to establish an operational concept and analyze enabling technologies. Due to the deployment of innovative ATM practices in countries outside the U.S., the program will incorporate an assessment of existing international efforts and realized benefits.

Although there are several efforts underway, there is no cohesive effort to bring the results from these projects together to provide actionable guidance, algorithms, models, or requirements. A need exists to develop a research test environment that would include a simulation test bed, data test bed, and model deployment evaluation to bring the existing research efforts together.

An existing effort to develop the ATM Concept will provide basic foundational research and directly contribute to furthering ATM. Preliminary results indicate that current technological research in algorithms, decision support systems, real-time modeling, data needs, and system impact from ATM is still limited. As a result, the initial program efforts will focus on addressing system engineering issues and basic technology and data gaps. The program will pursue research along several tracks:

The ATM research program will assist transportation agencies in moving from monitoring and responding to congestion problems to an operational strategy that influences traffic flow rates, capacity, and demand throughout the transportation network. The Concept of Operations this program establishes leads to the development of performance criteria and traffic management techniques that safely optimizes the flow of traffic.

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Smart Roadside ...

... is the development of roadside infrastructure for commercial vehicle operations that employs technologies for information sharing.

The vision for Smart Roadside research is to demonstrate, evaluate, and deploy interoperable technology and improved data sharing to improve safety, security, operational efficiency, and mobility on the Nation's freight transportation system.

Research Goals:

  • To enhance roadside enforcement operations through improved screening and automation of inspection/compliance checks.
  • To identify key entities (e.g., motor carrier, commercial vehicle, commercial driver, cargo) and communicate with commercial vehicles in realtime at highway speeds.
  • To ensure that the necessary standards and architecture are in place to support interoperable operations across the country.
  • To provide enhanced road condition and traffic information to support commercial vehicle route planning and improved access to intermodal ports, urban pick-up, and delivery locations.

Research Outcomes:

Stakeholders will have clear evidence of how technologies and information sharing really help to improve commercial vehicle operations on the road.

Research Plan

The Intelligent and Efficient Border Crossings project is a joint modal initiative between FHWA and FMCSA. The Smart Roadside program encompasses technology and information sharing research efforts with commercial vehicle roadside elements that are crucial to the missions of the Department. The objectives of the program are to:

In support of the Smart Roadside Initiative, FMCSA and FHWA will:

Figure 10: Smart Roadside Vision. Drawing depicts a road with the  roadside components listed to the right of this image.

Figure 10: Smart Roadside Vision

  1. E-Screening Site
  2. E-Tolling
  3. Over-Height Detector
  4. Weather Monitoring Station
  5. Transponder Reader (probes)
  6. Weigh-in-Motion
  7. Loop Detector
  8. In-Vehicle Monitoring (In Motion)
  9. E-Permitting Verification
  10. Radiation Detection Systems

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Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) Core and Expanded Program ...

... is a collection of information systems and communications networks that are owned and operated by governments, motor carriers, and other stakeholders that support commercial vehicle operations (CVO).

The vision for this program is to implement core CVISN and Expanded CVISN to improve the safety and productivity of motor carriers and their drivers and reduce regulatory and administrative costs for public- and private-sector stakeholders through improved data sharing, electronic credentialing, and targeted automated screenings and Research Plan enforcement of high-risk carriers at the roadside.

Research Goals:

To effectively facilitate the seamless exchange of critical information in support of efficient commercial vehicle operations (for instance, information on safety, credentials, and tax administration).

Research Outcomes:

To ensure deployment of Core and Expanded CVISN in support of the Smart Roadside program and a host of other information exchanges that improve motor carrier safety, identify inspection priorities, and create operational efficiencies that mean that carriers save time and money and can assure more timely delivery of cargo.

Research Plan

CVISN is a framework or "architecture" that assists transportation agencies, motor carrier organizations, and other stakeholders in planning and deploying integrated networks and systems. Use of the CVISN Architecture for planning and deployment enables agencies and the motor carrier industry to integrate systems to share data. Working together in this manner greatly leverages the capability of the individual systems, allowing agencies and firms to accomplish more than they could independently in a more cost effective and timely manner.

As a flexible framework, CVISN allows FMCSA the ability to ensure that technological advances, updates to the National ITS Architecture, and other research that might impact motor carriers are considered and incorporated. There are two levels of CVISN functionality for States and motor carrier firms:

Figure 11: Image of CVISN Architecture. CVISN flow chart is a drawing depicting four major categories of technology components and how data flows among the various components.  The four major areas are CV Administration Center Subsystem, Commercial Vehicle Check Roadside Subsystem, Commercial Vehicle Subsystem, and Fleet and Freight Management Center Subsystem.
Figure 11: Image of CVISN Architecture.

The objective of this research program is to support FMCSA in continuing the grant funding and oversight that has facilitated progress in establishing CVISN in fifty States. This partnership between the ITS JPO and FMCSA to fund and coordinate CVISN with the National ITS Architecture was established in previous legislations. Although the program is well on its way to meeting its stated goals, the funding will be continued through the new authorization when it is anticipated that the authority and funding responsibility for the CVISN Program will be ceded to FMCSA. Until that transition, the key elements of this effort will include:

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Intelligent and Efficient Border Crossings ...

... are ITS applications that use variable toll pricing, advanced traveler information systems, electronic screening, and other technologies to improve safety and mobility, reduce emissions, and improve security at our Nation's borders.

The vision for the research on Intelligent and Efficient Border Crossings is to enable the implementation of innovative ITS solutions for a bi-national border system that ultimately improve safety and mobility, reduce emissions, and facilitate trade and travel without compromising the vital mission of securing America's borders.

Image 12: Image of a Border Crossing.
Image 12: Image of a Border Crossing.

Research Goal:

To implement and evaluate bi-national systems at border crossings.

Research Outcomes:

The deliverables and results of the research will contribute to the overall ITS-driven model for safer, smarter, and more environmentally-friendly border crossing systems.

Research Plan

The Intelligent and Efficient Border Crossings project is a joint modal initiative between the ITS JPO, FHWA, and FMCSA that is focused on using ITS to create safer, less congested, and more environmentally-sustainable border crossings.

The research under this initiative is two-fold:

The IBC E-Screening component of this project leverages investment in the FMCSA Query Central-to-Customs and Border Protection's Automated Commercial Environment/ International Trade Data System (QC-ACE/ITDS) to provide an automated, data-driven approach to selection of vehicles for inspection at the border. This system enables uniform and consistent application of policies and procedures related to safety and compliance assurance of cross-border commercial traffic. The data will be augmented to include verification of more than 20 additional screening factors and enable identification and full safety/compliance verification of carriers, trucks, trailers, and drivers electronically within three seconds or less of a truck's presentation at the processing point rather than the current 15-minute manual process.

Additionally, at this second site, research will center on the implementation of IBC EScreening to assess the feasibility of reducing large truck crashes using an automated tool. This tool has several functions:

At both sites, FHWA and FMCSA will research the use of DSRC (5.9 GHz) technologies and determine how implementation might maximize opportunities to work with Canada and Mexico on the potential to improve safety and operations in border regions.

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Multi-Modal Integrated Payment Systems ...

... are integrated, interoperable electronic fare payment systems that can be utilized by all modes at all times.

The vision for the Multi-Modal Integrated Payment Systems research is to deliver to travelers the ease of use and convenience that comes from one payment system that can be used across modes. Transportation agencies will benefit from simplified transactions, streamlined revenue collection, improved efficiency, and lower transaction costs.

Research Goals:

  • To research the national policy requirements and investigate technological options for an interoperable, multi-modal payment platform.
  • To identify target markets of early adopters that demonstrate the greatest sustained value in having integrated electronic payment formats.

Research Outcomes

The outcome of the research will result in the facilitation and expedition of multi-modal, commercially-available, regionally-integrated, nextgeneration electronic payment systems that accept multiple payment media and are cost effective.

Research Plan

This research program assesses the impediments to deploying multi-modal, integrated payment systems (MMIPS) and identifies whether there are opportunities for markets and business models that would lead to sustainable markets for these technologies. While the private sector has done much to develop and deploy electronic payment technologies for transit and tolling systems, further research is needed to extend these systems across all modes by addressing interoperability.

The FTA and the FHWA will cooperatively investigate the potential for multimodal, integrated payment systems. In partnership, they will build upon previous research into electronic fare payment systems, tolling systems, parking reservation and payment systems, standards, and back-end financial transaction models that currently support transit and highway systems. New research will begin with a feasibility assessment of integrated systems, including analysis of new and emerging technologies and models for operations, financial transactions, and consumer electronics capabilities. This first phase will assess the platform of various electronic payment techniques and technologies, such as smart cards, bank-owned cards, cell phones, personal digital devices (e.g., BlackBerry, iPod), and transponders.

Further research will be conducted to determine the ITS standards needed to create an open architecture environment. Research will also be done to evaluate the technological capabilities and flexibility for identifying and assigning fees based on usage of the system. Finally, research will be conducted to identify benefits and costs.

If it is determined that an integrated, multi-modal system is technologically feasible, non-technical research will address institutional issues and customer acceptance, assess market opportunities, analyze back-office clearinghouse operations, and develop one or more business models for consideration in developing policy options.

The research is expected to result in the demonstration and evaluation of an integrated system comprised of transit bus service, parking, and tolls.

Image 13: Image of a man paying highway toll with credit card. Copyright
    Image 13: Paying highway
    toll with credit card.
Image 13: Image of an electronic tolling station. Copyright
Image 14: Electronic tolling.
Image 15: Image of a Smart Card. A Smart Card is issued by WMATA for use in transit services in Washington D.C. Image courtesy of WMATA.
Image 15: Smart Card.
Image courtesy of WMATA

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ITS Maritime Applications ...

... are transportation technologies applied within intermodal freight transfers between port, marine highway, truck, and rail. More than 90 percent of the Nation's imported and exported goods move by water and over one billion tons of domestic freight travels annually on America's Marine Highways.

The vision for the ITS Maritime Applications research is to investigate the range of ITS applications that can provide greater operational efficiencies within the maritime environment.

Image 16: Image of a ship container. Copyright fontanella.
Image 16: Multi-modal Port.
© fontanella

Research Goals:

  • To identify effective ITS applications for the maritime transportation environment.
  • To pilot and evaluate a range of maritime ITS applications and capture their benefits.

Research Outcomes

To develop definitive insight into whether ITS applications can provide increased efficiencies and lower costs for waterborne freight arrival and transit.

Research Plan

Using waterborne transportation for moving freight can help mitigate landslide congestion, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve energy. Despite these benefits, inefficiencies within the first and last travel legs of freight delivery can make waterborne transportation cost prohibitive.

Effective application of ITS technologies can lead to greater resource efficiencies and increased system performance. Some examples of ITS applications include:

The ITS maritime technology research will be conducted in two phases:

The results of this first phase of research is expected to result in:

Phase two research will focus on deploying selected pilot projects. The research will establish a baseline for service and determine potential efficiencies and cost savings. Performance measurement evaluations will be conducted to test and validate the efficiencies and benefits produced from these applications. Upon project completion, the Maritime Administration and the ITS Program will determine whether to deploy additional ITS deployments and develop best practices for fleet-wide dissemination.

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ITS Exploratory Research

The ITS Program recognizes that technology evolves rapidly and that the community is filled with new, creative ideas for approaches to connectivity, safety, mobility, and environmental mitigation. While the programs of research described in this document will lead to solid benefits, these are not the only areas of research with potential. The ITS Exploratory Research program is intended to provide an avenue to solicit creative ideas for new technology options that are deserving of further attention and that further the ITS Strategic Research Plan goals for the next five years.

At this point in time, two new activities have been defined under the Exploratory Research element of the ITS Program:

  • The ITS Exploratory Solicitations
  • The ITS Rail Exploratory Initiative

ITS Exploratory Solicitations

To ensure that the ITS Program is flexible and aware of new innovations, the ITS Program will add a new program element to solicit new ideas. The ITS Exploratory Solicitations effort will offer research opportunities to the community through a variety of solicitation processes yet to be defined.

Photos, top to bottom: ©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.

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ITS Rail Exploratory Initiative ...

... is a research effort designed to explore whether Connected Vehicle offers increased safety benefits within the rail environment. The research will also determine the requirements for rail-based communications and ITS technologies.

The vision for the ITS Rail Exploratory Initiative research is to improve rail safety and lower operational costs through real-time data exchange and ITS applications.

Research Goal:

To investigate the application of Connected Vehicle technologies and their benefits within the rail environment.

Research Outcomes

To establish the feasibility of using DSRC- and non-DSRC based communications technologies to improve rail safety and lower operational costs.

Image 17: Image of Heavy Rail. Copyright iStockphoto/buzbuzzer.
Image 17: Heavy Rail.
© iStockphoto/buzbuzzer

Image 18: Image of commuter trains. Copyright iStockphoto/hfng.
Image 18: Commuter Trains
Copyright iStockphoto/hfng.

Research Plan

The objective of this exploratory research initiative is to determine whether V2V or V2I Connected Vehicle application can offer potential safety benefits for commuter, freight, or heavy rail. The research will also focus on the feasibility of developing applications.

Currently, Connected Vehicle safety applications address the automobile platform and use DSRC. This research will investigate if DSRC is appropriate for rail-to-rail, rail-to-infrastructure, or rail-to-automobile communications. Additionally, this research will assess if existing rail communications or other modes of communication (Cellular, Wi-Fi, WiMAX, etc.) can be used for rail safety applications.

The research questions will focus on the current communication capabilities used within the rail environment, and how these technologies might interface with DSRC communications. Rail cars, including locomotives, have different architectures than automobiles, potentially adding greater complexity to Connected Vehicle rail applications. In particular, the institutional and policy issues will need to be assessed, as the business, policy, and jurisdictional models employed within the rail industry differ significantly from other transportation industries.

If the V2V and V2I safety applications for heavy rail and other rail modes are feasible, the benefits to travelers are immense and include lives saved through improved safety and lower repair costs for the infrastructure and rail vehicles.

Areas that will be assessed for their viability to implement Connected Vehicle communications technologies and safety applications include the following:

The research will be led by the FTA and involve a partnership with the FRA, transit experts, and stakeholders. The research will investigate the development and adoption of standards for data interoperability and communication between rail vehicles, rail to light vehicles, and rail to infrastructure. It will develop one or more business models that support sustainability and industry innovation, and it will investigate national policy and regulations. Finally, the research will identify target markets or locations for potential application demonstrations which will be determined after the feasibility research is successfully completed.

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ITS Cross-Cutting Support

The ITS Program's Cross-Cutting Support are those functions that ensure the effective and successful implementation and use of ITS. These programs are the mechanism through which the ITS Program directly gathers and assesses the data on ITS needs; they are also the ITS Program's mechanisms for ensuring that implementers understand both the value of ITS and the uses for ITS technologies, systems, models, and strategies that are produced through the research initiatives. From 2010–2014, the ITS Program will provide six cross-cutting programs in support of Connected Vehicle and ITS modal research:

ITS Standards

From 2010–2014, the primary focus of the ITS Standards program will be the further development, refinement, and testing of DSRC and other standards required to support Connected Vehicle deployment. These standards development efforts will be informed by results of ongoing Connected Vehicle development activities, findings from the VII proof-of concept tests, and other domestic and international technological developments. While it is possible that the recommended changes will address the problems detected during the proof-of-concept tests, it is not a given that the changes will lead to fixes that work effectively in the field and ensure the successful operation of Connected Vehicle. Therefore, it is the intent of the ITS Program to test implementations of the revised standards based on a set of standards test plans and procedures that will verify that: (1) the prototype implementations conform to the appropriate standard; and (2) the standards support the capability needed to advance Connected Vehicle toward deployment. A critical step in the completion of the Connected Vehicle standards is the ability to prototype and test new and revised standards in the Connected Vehicle test bed.

The program will also fund further updating and testing of other standards, including those covering infrastructure, vehicle, transit, and motor carrier, and other ITS technologies. The program will identify and execute opportunities to improve these standards and will apply life-cycle management principles to future standards efforts.

National ITS Architecture

The National ITS Architecture provides a definitive and consistent framework to guide the planning and deployment of ITS. The programs facilitate the ability of jurisdictions to operate collaboratively and to harness the benefits of a regional approach to transportation challenges.

The National ITS Architecture Program will support continued evolution of the architecture to incorporate technological developments and evolving user needs with a particular focus on updating the documents to reflect the Connected Vehicle requirements. The program will also provide deployment support for public agencies to assist with development, maintenance, and improvement of their regional ITS architectures along with compliance with applicable FHWA regulations.

ITS Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is a new element in the ITS Program. It reflects a desire to institute a process that is focused on ensuring that the results of ITS research become commercially viable and are adopted by the transportation community. While the function has yet to be fully defined, there are multiple efforts being pursued by the ITS Program:

ITS Professional Capacity Building

The goal of the ITS PCB Program is to provide the knowledge and technology transfer required by a multi-modal ITS workforce in support of effective deployment and use of ITS technologies. Adoption of new technologies, in particular, fast and successful adoption is highly dependent upon a workforce that is:

To ensure that the new as well as existing ITS technologies are effectively transferred into use, the ITS PCB Program strategy is being restructured and reinvigorated to address the new and anticipated challenges. This new focus is intended to complement the traditional focus that has provided an effective approach to meeting public- and private sector workforce development needs over the years.

Key elements of a refocused program include: continued training on effective deployment skills; migration to new web-based and virtual training technologies; significant upgrades to the ITS Standards training resources; and establishment of new partnerships, such as with University Transportation Centers, to create additional depth and breadth for ITS training and education.

ITS Evaluation

The objective of the ITS Evaluation program is to determine the effectiveness and benefits of deployed ITS and the value of ITS program investments. Evaluations are critical to ensuring progress toward the vision of integrated intelligent transportation systems and achieving ITS deployment goals. Evaluations are also critical to an understanding of the value, effectiveness, and impacts of the ITS Program activities and to allow for the continual refinement of the ITS Program's strategy.

To that end, a new ITS Deployment Evaluation program plan is under development that will define six newly refined processes for measuring the impacts of deployments.

  1. ITS Research Evaluation — Planning for, conducting, and reporting on independent evaluations of ITS Program research activities.
  2. ITS Deployment Tracking Surveys — Planning for and developing deployment tracking surveys and analyzing the results.
  3. ITS Deployment Evaluation — Planning for, conducting, and reporting on evaluations of deployments conducted outside of the ITS Research Program.
  4. ITS Program Evaluation — Planning for, conducting, and reporting on the overall effectiveness of the ITS Program. 40 ITS Strategic Research Plan, 2010–2014
  5. Knowledge Management — Collecting, organizing, and analyzing information and findings from research, deployment, program evaluations, and deployment tracking surveys.
  6. Knowledge Transfer — Reporting research, deployment, and program evaluation results and implications to stakeholders both internal and external to ITS. Identifying and applying Knowledge Transfer "best practices," including user-friendly media and formats, user skill-building efforts, application demonstrations, etc., to encourage and facilitate deployment.

With the capture of new ITS deployment tracking data, the ITS Evaluation program will continue to add to the successful, on-line ITS Benefits, ITS Costs, and ITS Lessons Learned databases. New research is planned to measure the impact of the previous ITS initiatives; and new analysis is being initiated to measure value of ITS investment and ITS research.

ITS Outreach and Communications

The ITS Program is dedicated to publicizing the results of research and ensuring the transfer of knowledge and technology to stakeholders within the Department and externally. This is the primary purpose of the outreach and communications function. Outreach is targeted at supporting the ITS research programs with technical reports and design of stakeholder interactions through meetings and forums. Additional outreach activities will include upgrading and maintaining the ITS Program website, exploring new media and methods for communicating with stakeholders, developing and distributing publications and materials, exhibiting at industry trade shows, and coordinating with RITA Office of Public Affairs for media events and communication.

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The benefits of a transformed transportation system — one that is fully connected, information-rich, and able to address safety, mobility, and environmental impacts — are wide-ranging and powerful. They will be felt by every one of us, delivering greater livability to our communities and to our daily lives.

The concept of transportation connectivity, once it has developed from research into deployment, will bring with it benefits that we are just beginning to understand:

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Collectively, the component programs of the ITS Strategic Research Plan form a cohesive approach to achieving the vision of a connected transportation environment and demonstrating that transformation of our transportation system is possible.

It is the nature of research that, as answers emerge for these and other questions, new questions will arise. Therefore, this research plan will remain flexible; the ITS Program leadership is committed to tracking progress against milestones and providing programmatic reviews in order to adjust to new needs and changing directions in policy, technology, and the marketplace. However, the focus and vision of the program will remain consistent—to research and facilitate the delivery of a multi-modal surface transportation system that features a connected transportation environment among vehicles, the infrastructure, and portable devices to serve the public good by leveraging technology to maximize safety, mobility, and environmental performance.

Consistent with this administration's commitment to open government, the ITS Program will implement program management processes that assure:

In conclusion, over the next five years, the ITS Program:

This Plan harnesses powerful trends in wireless technologies, both DSRC and non-DSRC, to pursue their innovative application to transportation and transform the system as we know it.

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1 The full ITS Strategic Research Plan will be available on the ITS JPO website ( in May 2010. (back)

2 See ITS Research Results: ITS Program Plan 2008 at: (back)

3 NHTSA Traffic Safety Fact Sheet at: (back)

4 NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, Traffic Safety Facts: Research Note, October 2009 at: (back)

5 Blincoe, A., Seay E., Zaloshingia, T., et al. The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000. May 2002. NHTSA Report No. DOT HS 809 446. (back)

6 Schrank, David and Lomax, Tim, 2009 Urban Mobility Report, Texas Transportation Institute, July 2009 (back)

7 EPA and Centers for Disease Control statistics at:   (back)

8 Internal NHTSA analysis. (back)

9 FMCSA, 2007 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts, 2007. January 2009, FMCSA Analysis Division, pages 41–42, table 35. (back)

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Image Sources

Cover photos: Top to bottom: ©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.

Figure 1: Telematics Research Group, Inc.

Figure 2: Statistics from the International Telecommunications Union at:

Figure 3: C.J. Driscoll & Associates, "Interest of U.S. Consumers in Traffic Information Services", October 2006.

Page 6 Images: Car accident — © Congestion — ©iStockphoto/ tillsonburg; Stouffer

Figure 4: Drawn internally for the DOT

Figure 5: Drawn internally for the DOT

Figure 6: Drawn internally for the DOT

Figure 7: Drawn internally for the DOT, Control Center photo: © Heinz Linke

Figure 8: Drawn internally for the DOT

Figure 9: Traffic Simulator with Person — © Texas Transportation Institute, 2004,

Page 29: Top to bottom: ©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.

Figure 10: Drawn for FMCSA:

Figure 11: Drawn for FMCSA as part of ITS Research Results: ITS Program Plan 2008 at: page 172

Page 34: Image 12— ©

Page 36: Image 13 — ©

Page 36: Image 14— ©

Page 37: Image 15— Image courtesy of WMATA

Page 35: Image 15 — © fontanella

Page 38: Top to bottom: ©; thad; dlewis33; globo; Jon Patton; nashvilledino2.

Page 39: Image 17 — © iStockphoto/buzbuzzer

Page 39: Image 18 — © iStockphoto/hfng

Intelligent Transportation Systems. U.S. Department of Transportation (and logo). Research and Innovative Technology Administration. ITS Joint Program Office. FHWA-JPO-10-028. EDL: 14936.

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