ITS JPO Newsletter August 2012

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Dear Colleagues,

Last month, Congress passed the latest federal aid highway law (MAP-21), which continues the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) research program at similar funding levels.

In addition, we are excited about the impending launch of the Safety Pilot Model Deployment this August, which will be the largest test to date of connected vehicle technology in a real-world, multimodal operating environment. This newsletter highlights this launch as well as several other initiatives, such as the preliminary results of the Safety Pilot Driver Clinics, the upgraded Connected Vehicle Test Bed, and the Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) initiative, among others.

Shelley Row

Safety Pilot Model Deployment

On August 21, the USDOT is launching the world’s largest test of connected vehicle technology in a real-world, multimodal operating environment. Using approximately 3000 cars, trucks, and buses (and some infrastructure) equipped with wireless communications devices, this model deployment will create a highly concentrated environment of vehicles “talking” to each other, exchanging valuable information that could save lives and improve mobility.

Safety Pilot logo

Over the course of a year, the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute will conduct the model deployment using everyday drivers carrying out their normal routines on the streets and highways of Ann Arbor, MI. Their equipped vehicles will send and receive data from other equipped vehicles nearby to convey warnings to drivers if specific safety hazards are likely to occur. The USDOT will use the data collected from the earlier driver clinics and the upcoming model deployment to understand how different types of motorists respond to safety messages in the real world and determine the technology’s effectiveness at reducing crashes.

The data from the driver clinics and model deployment will ultimately help the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) make decisions in 2013 and 2014 on the future of connected vehicle technology for safety in light and heavy vehicles, respectively. Click here to learn more about US DOT’s connected vehicle research program.

Safety Pilot Driver Clinics

The preliminary results of the Safety Pilot Driver Clinics are in. Findings show that drivers across age groups and gender desire vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technology. Conducted from August 2011 to January 2012, each driver clinic had over 100 drivers testing in-vehicle wireless technology.

The V2V safety applications tested included emergency brake-light warning, forward-collision warning, intersection movement assist, blind-spot and lane-change warning, do-not-pass warning, and left-turn assist. Over 90 percent of the respondents indicated that they would like to have the V2V safety features in their vehicles, with the intersection-movement-assist application rated the highest in desirability (93.9 percent), usefulness (95.5 percent), and intuitiveness (92.8 percent). However, all of the safety features received a positive response in all three areas.

In terms of the unintended consequences of the safety features, 74.5 percent of the drivers felt that the safety features would not be any more distracting to their driving than using the car radio. Most participants were either neutral or disagreed that the safety features would cause drivers to pay less attention to their driving environment.

The majority of the participants felt that the market would need to be at least 70-percent saturated with equipped vehicles to notice any benefits, and the majority of respondents (58 percent) would be willing to pay up to $250 for the V2V technology.

Overall, respondents felt the benefits of connected vehicle technology (saving lives and preventing accidents) far outweigh the potential drawbacks (dependency, complacency, or over-reliance).

Results of the Drive Clinics [HTML]

Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) Benefits Transportation Corridors

ICM institutional partners aim to reduce travel times, travel delays, fuel consumption, emissions, and incidents, thereby increasing travel reliability and predictability, by managing the transportation corridor as a system. To explore the benefits of applying ICM strategies in transportation corridors, the USDOT’s ICM Initiative developed the Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation (AMS) methodology. Stakeholders in Dallas, TX; Minneapolis, MN; and San Diego, CA, are among the first to implement the methodology. The sites examined the potential effects of applying ICM strategies in a multimodal, metropolitan corridor. Assessed strategies included ramp metering, congestion pricing, signal optimization, transit priority, and enhanced traveler information. ICM teams used the approach to refine concepts of operation, requirements, and system design specifications for ICM systems in their multimodal, urban corridors.

At each pioneer site, ICM improved the corridors’ mobility, reliability, and environmental impacts. Benefits outpaced the implementation costs of ICM within the first year and continued to generate returns that far outpaced management and operations costs over the life of the system, when extrapolated in the model and factoring for inflation. The effort also helped to advance current modeling approaches. The AMS methodology uses up to three types of modeling tools (macro-, meso-, and micro-scopic), enabling a truly comprehensive picture of corridor operations and performance.

Dallas and San Diego are preparing to demonstrate ICM systems (along the I-75 and I-15 corridors, respectively) in early 2013.

Visit the ICM Knowledgebase to download various knowledge transfer resources that help corridor managers plan, design, and implement ICM. The following resources are coming soon:

  • AMS Results for the Three Pioneer Sites including an executive summary and fact sheet. Analysis plans and detailed summaries of results from the three sites will be posted soon.
  • ICM Implementation Guide and the AMS Guide (which will be incorporated into Volume XIII of the FHWA’s Traffic Analysis Toolbox). The guides lead transportation managers through implementation of ICM and AMS respectively, based on the experiences of the eight ICM pioneer sites that used these approaches.
  • Knowledge and Technology Transfer (KTT) Workshop Series. The USDOT is pilot testing this 2-day workshop series based on the ICM Implementation Guide and the AMS Guide. The workshops will provide customized support to advance ICM in regions with multimodal corridors seeking to gain maximum performance and value from existing infrastructure. A 4-hour introductory workshop is available through the ITS Professional Capacity Building Program. To learn more about the ICM KTT workshops or to request one for your region, contact Bob Sheehan, P.E. PTOE, Systems Management Team, FHWA, Office of Operations, (202) 366-6817. To stay informed on the progress of the pioneer sites and upcoming ICM KTT materials and activities, sign up for the ICM Newsletter.

ICM AMS Findings at the Three Pioneer Sites

  • ICM benefits overall corridor performance. All three sites saw improvements in mobility, reliability, fuel consumption, and emissions. ICM has the most impact in high-demand conditions and severe traffic incidents.
  • Benefits outweighed system costs at all three sites within the first year.
  • ICM AMS generated improved analysis tools and methods for corridors.
  • ICM AMS positions sites for best-value implementation of ICM, and provides continuous improvement and a platform for longer-term decision support systems.

The most recent ICM fact sheet.

Connected Vehicle Test Bed

To address the latest advances in V2V and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications, the Connected Vehicle Test Bed in Novi, Michigan, is undergoing an upgrade. The test bed’s physical configuration and the location of its roadside equipment (RSEs) have been altered to enable users to test applications using close or dispersed communications. Servers have also been reconfigured to comply with the new core architecture. New-generation RSEs that support updated signal phase and timing (SPaT) and Geometric Intersection Description (GID) messages are being tested for deployment. In addition, three portable RSEs, mounted on movable trailers, are now available to developers to test their applications at their own facilities. Test bed resources will also include vehicles that allow easy installation of new onboard equipment platforms and can test aftermarket safety and vehicle awareness devices. These upgrades will continue in response to the evolving needs and requirements of the connected vehicle program and both the public and private sectors.

Connected Vehicle Test Bed logo

One overarching theme that has helped guide the improvements to the Novi test bed is interoperability. Test beds across the country (such as in Florida, California, New York, and Arizona) are working together to ensure standardization and consistency between communication protocols. This enables users to test their applications across multiple facilities, leveraging the different applications and physical conditions at each location.

The public and private sectors are using the test bed for testing and development of various applications and components. This includes testing and development of SPaT applications along Telegraph Road in Novi and preliminary testing of hardware and software components for the Safety Pilot Model Deployment.

USDOT to Host Connected Vehicle Industry Forum on September 25-27 in Chicago

The USDOT will host a free public meeting and webinar to provide updates and promote lively discussion on the Connected Vehicle Safety, V2I, and Testing programs, along with a special session on the lessons learned in deploying ITS.

The goal of this forum is to identify research results to date and what remains in getting to the 2013 decision on Vehicle Communications for Safety, discuss what is evolving in terms of a robust vehicle-to-infrastructure environment, and identify what we have learned from past ITS deployments that can help with success for the future.

Event Details

Tuesday – Thursday September 25-27
8:30am - 4:30pm

Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 East Wacker Drive,
Chicago, Illinois, USA 60601
Tel: 1 312 565 1234    Fax: +1 312 239 4414