Track 1 - Establish the Foundation (Analytics)
The AERIS program will undertake foundational analytics to support a rigorous research program that leverages connected vehicle research and data sets/standards to assess what environmentally-relevant data can currently be acquired, assess if this is the “right” data, examine if there are data gaps, and undertake research that will create the most useful data sets and information to support "green choices". This foundational research will identify opportunities for further research to analyze and evaluate specific applications/strategies for improving environmental decisions by public agencies and consumers and for improving environmental outcomes through ITS.
The approach to undertaking an intensive, rigorous program of foundational research and analysis includes a comprehensive review of the state of the practice in a variety of areas to determine the following:
- Limits of current technology – Examine what are the current limits to the technologies that may enable environmental data acquisition (from a variety of travelers, vehicles and system sources) that will help to achieve the research objectives. For example, what environmental data can in-vehicle sensors currently acquire? Can environmentally-relevant information be derived from it? Does this support what we want to achieve with our research? Do we need more advanced sensors? Do the sensors need to measure and acquire different data than they currently do, or at a different level of granularity? Related questions will also be addressed, including to what extent can post-processing improve the usefulness of this information to support environmentally-relevant actions.
- Limits of Currently Available Data Sets: Use probe vehicle tests and the connected vehicle test bed to begin to acquire data that might be environmentally relevant. Parse, analyze and sift through the data to answer the following questions: what do we have, what does it tell us, is it good quality, how might it be used, and what do we still need?
- Limits and challenges of monitoring and analyzing: Examine what the state of the practice is with respect to environmental monitoring and modeling technologies. What data can be captured from infrastructure-based sensors? What ITS data feeds different models? Also, are certain models more effective in reporting certain types of information? Which types of data and how much is needed to make major improvements in current models and algorithms?
- What are the most valuable ITS applications with respect to environmental needs – Examine and evaluate where ITS technologies and data can be most effective and contribute maximum value to addressing environmental challenges. Conduct system analysis to better understand the potential roles of ITS in mitigating negative impacts of transport and what types of performance metrics might be most appropriate. Refine results and also inform future work.
- State of the Practice Scan (Domestic) and Site Visits – Undertake a detailed scan of existing initiatives/research on ITS and the environment within the DOT, others in the public sector, the private sector and academia, and across the US. This scan will seek to identify opportunities to leverage existing or ongoing research to reduce costs, risks and/or schedule requirements associated with AERIS research requirements.
- State of the Practice Scan (International) and Site Visits – Undertake several trips to relevant deployments or research being undertaken internationally. Undertake a gap analysis (i.e., where is the rest of the world compared to us), and begin the process of reaching out to international stakeholder groups and governments. These activities will seek to identify opportunities to leverage the result of existing or ongoing international research to reduce costs, risks and/or schedule requirements associated with AERIS research requirements. Develop a plan for extended international cooperation and joint research. Cooperative research conducted with the European Union (EU) will be conducted within the framework of the existing USDOT/EU cooperative research agreement and will be coordinated with the US-EU ITS research task force.
- Stakeholder Engagement – An extensive effort will be undertaken to identify, meet with, learn from, cooperate with, and get the support of a wide range of stakeholders. Included is attendance at a wide range of workshops, conferences, meetings, etc, to gain knowledge, cultivate support and buy-in for our research, and leverage existing stakeholder activities.
- Cultivate relationships with other research programs – Although the environmental research will likely identify and champion new strategies to improve the environment, the other connected vehicle research initiatives will also develop strategies to improve mobility and safety that could potentially improve environmental performance and so must be considered. The US DOT Weather program and related activities are one example of current research and program activities that need to be evaluated within the context of environmental improvement. AERIS expects to be able to leverage data, promising applications, and the results of Field Operational Tests (FOT) from other ITS programs (Dynamic Mobility Applications/Real Time Data) as part of this research.
- Evaluation techniques – examine what is the state of the practice in evaluation techniques when evaluating the performance of technologies and integrated systems that are designed to mitigate the negative impacts of transportation on the environment. What are the different evaluation options and what results do they yield? Are the results accurate and robust? Are they actual measurements or from models?
- Activity based travel models – from the perspective of the traveler, what is the true market for various modes of travel and under what conditions? How can this behavior be influenced? How can these markets be expanded or shrunk to meet environmental goals system-wide? How can this make good business sense for service providers and also meet the needs of the traveling public?
- Traffic simulation models – how will the proposed environmental improvement strategies work, and how effective will they be? How do the strategies compare with each other, with strategies developed elsewhere including within the ITS program to improve mobility and safety? A comprehensive test-bed that will allow scenarios representative of target communities will be needed to allow these comparisons and assessments to be made.
- Signal Phasing and Timing (SPaT) – work with other research initiatives to initially explore how SPaT can help to yield environmental benefits.
World Congress activities - The World Congresses will provide important opportunities to discuss and perhaps demonstrate promising environmental improvement strategies and technologies, as well as to obtain feedback from important stakeholders.