In recent years, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) have come a long way. In part, this is due to the help from states and governments in incentivizing the use of these technologies to improve transportation systems. The US Department of Transportation’s (USDoT) Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program entered into its second phase in September of 2016, beginning a 20-month cycle of designing, building, and testing. The USDoT’s program looks to combine connected vehicle technology with mobile device communications technologies in order to improve and enhance traveler mobility and system productivity. In this article, we’ll outline the vision, objectives, and progress of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
The program is also looking to assist in the integration of connected vehicle research concepts into practical and feasible roles that enhance and improve previously existing operational capabilities. This not only helps to spread the kinds of connected vehicle technologies desired by the state or county for use in intelligent transportation systems, but also ease the transition for transport organizations and agencies looking to implement and integrate their own connected vehicle technology schemes.
It is the intent of the program to also encourage partnerships between multiple stakeholders such as states, private companies, and transport agencies to deploy applications that utilize the data captured from a variety of different sources. It is hoped this will be done across all aspects of the surface transportation system in order to enhance the system’s productivity and improve performance-based management systems. Partnerships would also help spread the financial and institutional costs and work across several stakeholders.
One of the main objectives of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is to spur on the early deployment of connected vehicle technologies for use in intelligent transportation systems. This would be done, not just through the wirelessly connected vehicles themselves, but also through wireless mobile devices, traffic management systems, roadside intelligent transport infrastructure and other key intelligent transportation system elements. The aim would be that all these technologies working in unison could collect and share data to and from multiple sources in order to gain meaningful insights and make important or critical decisions.
Improve Safety, Mobility, and Environmental Impact
Another of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program’s objectives is to improve safety and mobility as well as environmental impacts and also to commit to quantifying and calculating those benefits. In order to do this, operational data would need to be collected from primary sources for analysis. In this case, the benefits will be measured taking data from real-world deployments as opposed to test beds and computer simulations. The distinguishing of these benefits and how they relate and can be attributed to the connected vehicle applications and technologies present will be one of the main aspects of this function.
Resolve Deployment Issues
The third objective of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is to resolve any deployment issues that may occur within the different aspects of the program. These deployment issues are grouped into three categories, technical, institutional, and financial, depending on the area they fall into. Technical issues are usually the easiest to resolve, whereas institutional and financial arrangements can take some time to slide into place. Financially sustainability, for example, must be modeled following the initial funding from the initial pilots in order to for technologies to integrate without too many hitches.
The overall time scale for of the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is around 50 months, with phase one of the operation taking 12 months and completing in September of 2016. Phase two is currently underway with a schedule that is expected to take it into early to mid 2019. The second phase of the program is focused on designing, building and testing deployments and is the longest of the three planned phases being expected to last 20 months. Phase three of the program will focus on maintaining and operating the pilot program and it is estimated it will take a minimum of 18 months before the transition to ongoing routine operations can commence.
Once phase three is complete, post-pilot operations can begin and further deployments may be planned, depending on the outcomes and results gathered and collected at the current pilot sites. The three current pilot deployments are also expected to inform and support an impact assessment and evaluation effort with the aims of informing a much broader assessment of the cost-benefit of connected vehicles concepts and technologies. Should this broader assessment turn out largely positive results for connected vehicle technologies, it would be reasonable to expect many more connected vehicle deployment programs begin to take place across the country.