What's Next? The Federal Role

What role is your government playing? The U.S. federal government is supporting connected vehicle research, development, testing, and deployment. The USDOT is collaborating with public and private partners, including state and local governments, vehicle and device manufacturers, and academia, to advance connected vehicle development and implementation. Within the USDOT, the ITS JPO is working with other DOT federal agencies to coordinate and foster the advancement of connected vehicle technologies. These include the:

28 percent...
That is the percentage of the nation's greenhouse gas emissions that are attributed to the transportation sector.
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A nationwide network of connected vehicles and infrastructure might be closer to becoming a reality than you might think. Significant progress has already been made in testing connected vehicle technologies and applications in real-world situations. The USDOT Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program provided large amounts of valuable data on how these technologies, applications, and systems perform in the hands of everyday drivers.

Based on the results of these test programs and other research, in August 2014, NHTSA issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to begin implementation of V2V communications technology, as well as a comprehensive research report in support of its proposal. The main focus of this initial decision is to enable collision warnings to drivers prior to a crash. NHTSA’s connected vehicle activities can be tracked on SaferCar.gov.

Connected Vehicle Pilots

In 2015, the USDOT launched the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program to spur implementations of connected vehicle technology in regions throughout the nation. The USDOT’s goals for the pilot deployment program are straightforward—accelerate deployment, measure impact, and uncover the technical and non-technical barriers to deployment in a hands-on way. The Department selected three sites for the regional connected vehicle pilots—Wyoming; New York City; and Tampa, Florida. The three sites include using connected vehicle technologies to improve safe and efficient truck movement along I-80 in southern Wyoming, exploiting V2V and intersection communications to improve vehicle flow and pedestrian safety in high-priority corridors in New York City, and deploying multiple safety and mobility applications on and in proximity to reversible freeway lanes in Tampa, Florida.

Smart Cities

More deployments and pilots are our focus going forward. In December 2015, the USDOT launched the Smart City Challenge—a national competition to connect people, vehicles, public transportation, and infrastructure through ITS, the sharing economy, and other technologies. In 2016, the Department selected the City of Columbus, Ohio, as the winner.

Columbus will receive up to $40 million from the USDOT and up to $10 million from Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc., which will supplement the $90 million that the city has already raised from other private partners to carry out its plan. Using these resources, Columbus will work to reshape its transportation system to become part of a fully-integrated city that harnesses the power and potential of data, technology, and creativity. However, the hope is that this challenge will provide a foundation that other cities and regions will utilize to develop other smart communities.

Building on the successful Smart City Challenge, the USDOT recently announced the award of grants, under the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technology Deployment (ATCMTD) Initiative, to deploy more smart city technologies in both large and small local communities across the country.

The grants will enable cities and rural communities to harness new technologies to tackle hard problems like reducing congestion, connecting people to mass transit, and enhancing safety.

Communities receiving ATCMTD grants include:

  • Pittsburgh, PA, will receive nearly $11 million to execute elements of the vision it developed in its Smart City Challenge application, including deployment of smart traffic signal technology – proven to reduce congestion at street lights by up to forty percent – along major travel corridors. 
  • Denver, CO, will also receive approximately $6 million to help to alleviate the congestion caused by a daily influx of 200,000 commuters each workday through connected vehicles.

Automated Vehicles

Looking further into the future beyond connected vehicle and infrastructure technology, the federal government, in partnership with state and local agencies, industry, and the public, is exploring the feasibility of partially or fully automated vehicles, possibly combined with connected vehicle technology. The combination of these two technologies could fulfill their full potential to provide unprecedented levels of safety, mobility, and environmental sustainability.