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Connected Vehicle Pilots Coming to a Region Near You

Connected Vehicle Pilots Coming to a Region Near You

When we talk about Connected Vehicles, we're talking about vehicles that use basic wireless technology to talk to each other, to mobile devices, and to roadside infrastructure such as traffic signals. And, believe it or not, these vehicles are in the fast lane toward deployment and implementation on America's roads.

With the success of DOT’s Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration decision to pursue vehicle-to-vehicle technology, what once might have seemed like science fiction will soon be very real...and very helpful. When vehicles and roadway infrastructure exchange information with each other, we have the potential to make our transportation system significantly safer, smarter, and greener.

Building on that momentum, we have released a Request for Information (RFI) to help refine plans for more pilot deployments of connected vehicle technology in real-world settings. That means bringing the promise of connected vehicles to some of our roads even sooner.

Graphic depicting connected vehicles

The new Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program seeks to spur innovation among early adopters of connected vehicle application concepts. The program encourages stakeholders to partner in deploying connected vehicle applications that will improve mobility, productivity, livability, accessibility, fuel economy, and--our number one priority--safety.

Technology in development includes apps that:

  • Adjust traffic signals based on traffic demand and congestion;
  • Give signal priority to emergency and transit vehicles;
  • Coordinate rideshares between travelers and nearby drivers;
  • Alert drivers to deteriorated road conditions ahead from ice or heavy rain; and
  • Provide drivers potential crash warnings.

But the list of potential apps could include many more functions. The potential uses for connected vehicle data are bounded only by our imaginations.

The program envisions several regional pilot deployments throughout the country, with an initial wave starting in 2015. A workshop on the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program is planned for April 30, 2014 in the Washington, DC, area.

With this pilot deployment program, we're taking our Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot to the next level. Our experience, lessons learned, and findings will provide the foundation from which the next pilots can build. Collectively, these regional pilots will advance our nation’s transportation system, and we are looking forward to them.

Ken Leonard is Director of the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office.

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