What Are the Benefits of Connected Vehicles?
How Will Connected Vehicles Improve Safety?

Safety is the USDOT’s top concern. Connected vehicle technology has the potential to significantly prevent or reduce the impact of millions of accidents every year. By limiting the number of crashes, thousands of lives will be saved and millions of injuries prevented. The technology will alert you of potentially dangerous situations that are developing and provide you with the tools to avert crashes or reduce their consequences.

Your vehicle will transmit, receive, and continually monitor signals that will provide it with a 360-degree view of other vehicles nearby. The system will operate in the background and only alert you if an unsafe situation is developing. In many situations, you will be warned of dangers that you are not aware of and can't even see.

For example, you may receive a warning that a car that you can't see ahead of the truck in front of you has slammed on its brakes, giving you enough time to avoid crashing into the rear end of the truck. Or if you're thinking about changing lanes on the highway, you might be notified that a vehicle is traveling in your blind spot. Other safety applications can warn you of poor spot-weather road conditions, of dangerous curves ahead, or that it's unsafe to pass a trailer in front of you as a car coming in the other direction is moving too fast.

These are just some of the many connected vehicle safety applications that are being developed, tested, and deployed in pilot programs that will soon make the roads safer for you and other travelers.

forward collision warning
A safety application such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW) alerts the driver to an imminent collision in order to help avoid or mitigate the severity of crashes into the rear end of other vehicles on the road. More.

How Will Connected Vehicles Improve Mobility?

Waiting in traffic as you head to work, school, or the grocery store can be a major source of frustration. It not only can cause you a lot of stress, it also wastes valuable time you could be spending on other things. In fact, the 2012 Urban Mobility Report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) shows that Americans lost 5.5 billion hours in 2011 stuck in traffic on U.S. highways. That amounts to almost one full work week (or vacation week) for every traveler. Another report from the USDOT indicates that connected vehicle mobility applications may be able to cut travel-time delays caused by congestion by more than a third. Just imagine what you could do with the hours now spent locked in traffic if the roads were less congested and flowed more freely.

42 hours...
That is the amount of time a typical highway user sits in traffic every year due to congestion, according to the 2015 Urban Mobility Report. That's more than a full week of vacation!
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Increased mobility is one of the main benefits that connected vehicle technology offers. Transportation and traffic managers can use the data generated by vehicles on the roads and rails, by sensors imbedded in the infrastructure, and by mobile devices such as smartphones to keep traffic flowing smoothly. And new mobility applications will enable you to plan the most efficient, time-saving, and greenest commute.

For example, “queue warning” is an application that will let you know way ahead of time of a backup forming in your lane. You would receive enough notice to slow down, change lanes, or even take a different route. Another application known as “connection protection” would allow you to “hold” a transit vehicle so that you make your connection. There are also mobility applications that will enable your car to communicate wirelessly with parking meters in the area to find open parking spaces, or use your smartphone to arrange a last-minute rideshare partner. Another application could even enable a disabled pedestrian to use a wireless device to communicate with a traffic signal to safely cross a busy intersection.

These are just a few of the many mobility applications in development that have the potential to make your travel smoother, timely, and even relaxing.

Connected vehicle technology will bring out environmental benefits. For example, the Eco-Lanes scenario includes dedicated lanes optimized for the environment. Eco-Lanes are similar to HOV and HOT lanes; however these lanes are optimized for the environment using connected vehicle data and can be responsive to real-time traffic and environmental conditions. More.

How Will Connected Vehicles Help the Environment?

Did you know that traffic congestion wastes the fuel equivalent of almost a third of the flow of the Alaska pipeline every year? That's right—surface transportation loses nearly 4 billion gallons of fuel each year due to traffic congestion. And then there are those greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Tailpipe emissions from vehicles are the largest human-made source of GHGs. Vehicles sitting in traffic or in a stop-and-go pattern due to congestion send out more GHGs than those moving in free-flow conditions, according to the TTI. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that the transportation sector made up 28 percent of the nation's GHG emissions in 2012.

Connected vehicle technology has the potential to make a significant contribution to reducing the environmental impact of surface transportation. Here's how…

It can give you the information you need to make eco-friendly travel choices—those choices that mitigate some of the negative impacts of surface transportation, such as congestion and tailpipe emissions. By providing you with real-time data collected from connected vehicles, the connected infrastructure, and personal information devices such as smartphones, you'll know which form of travel to your destination will have the least environmental impact. With up-to-the-minute information on traffic conditions, you'll be able to find alternate routes, decide to take public transit, or reschedule your travel to when traffic is less congested.

Other eco-friendly applications are also being developed and tested. For example, one such application would adjust traffic signals to help you make fewer stops and starts when driving, which would decrease air pollution. Another application would give priority to transit vehicles at intersections, which would increase the number of people passing through an intersection, help transit vehicles adhere to their schedules, and make public transportation more appealing.

Another solution would set up dynamic “eco-lanes” on highways. These would be similar to today's separate, high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) carpool lanes; however, the eco-lanes, in one potential variation, could be dedicated to high-occupancy, low-emissions vehicles and use connected vehicle data to optimize environmental impact. This would reward you for carpooling and investing in alternative-fuel vehicles.

These applications are just a few of the many solutions that are being developed as part of the Connected Vehicle program. They'll help your travel go more smoothly and reduce your environmental impact.