The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) is begining phase two the practical testing and roll out of its innovative connected vehicle technology on the I-80 corridor, with assistance from a USDOT grant.
The I-80 corridor in Wyoming is one of only three locations around the USA to participate in the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program. Interstate 80, which reaches its highest elevation at 8,640ft (2,633m), is a major corridor for east-west freight movement in the northwest part of the country. In the last year alone, I-80 has experienced more than 1,400 crashes, with 13 causing fatalities and over 250 causing injuries. The Connected Vehicle (CV) technology enables trucks and WYDOT’s fleets to ‘talk’ to each other and to the roadside infrastructure using vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communications systems. By enabling this connection, the pilot project will allow drivers to have 360º awareness of hazards and situations, including some they cannot see.
In practice, this means that when trucks equipped with the technology approach slowed or stopped traffic, they can receive messages in their vehicles to give more reaction time and choices. Furthermore, if equipped vehicles pass roadside devices, drivers can receive messages alerting them to hazardous road conditions and crashes ahead, and giving them construction zone information, parking recommendations and other road and travel information. If the equipped vehicle is stranded, it can send out an emergency notification to the appropriate center for assistance. Fleet managers will have new and more accurate information to share with their truckers on I-80. The goal is to improve the safety of the traveling public and reduce the incidents associated with adverse weather conditions frequently encountered in the corridor.
In August, WYDOT successfully completed the development of the concept and plan for the pilot deployment of the CV technology. The system is planned to be integrated within WYDOT’s existing Transportation Management Center (TMC), and the agency anticipates equipping 400 vehicles and installing close to 75 roadside units using this technology. Private fleet partner trucks will also equip their vehicles with the new technology.
WYDOT will be supported by a multidisciplinary team including ICF International, National Center for Atmospheric Research, McFarland Management, Trihydro, University of Wyoming and Vital Assurance. Additional support will come from the vendors that will provide the hardware and software needed for the pilot. The federal government is providing about US$4.4m for the design and deployment phase of the project, and the combined cost of all three phases is projected to be about US$5.7m.
“Our connected vehicle project presents a unique opportunity,” said Gregg Fredrick, WYDOT chief engineer. “Our project team, along with the private fleet partners, and a multidisciplinary research team, will collaborate on developing leading-edge safety and mobility applications and prove the concept through real-world testing along the I-80 corridor. This work will lay the foundation for much larger and exciting opportunities to enhance the safety and mobility on other rural roadways in Wyoming, and throughout the USA.”
For a full update on this project don’t miss the January 2017 edition of Traffic Technology International magazine – available from the first week of December 2016