Lessons Learned from the Design/Build/Test Phase of the USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Program.
Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program Driving Towards Deployment: Lessons Learned from the Design/Build/Test Phase
In September of 2015, USDOT selected New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT), Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) and Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) as the recipients of a combined $42 million in federal funding to implement a suite of connected vehicle applications and technologies tailored to meet their region’s unique transportation needs under the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
Following the award, each site spent 12 months preparing a comprehensive deployment concept to ensure rapid and efficient connected vehicle capability roll-out. The sites next completed a 24-month phase to design, build, and test these deployments of integrated wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. As of early 2019, the sites are entering a third phase of the deployment where the tested connected vehicle systems will become operational for a minimum 18-month period and will be monitored on a set of key performance measures.
Given the promising future of connected vehicle deployments and the growing early deployer community, experiences and insights across all stages of the Design/Build/Test Phase of the CV Pilots have been collected to serve as lessons learned and recommendations for future early deployer projects and efforts.
The following lessons were identified regarding institutional arrangements that need to be made to outline the expectations of partners in terms of service, outcomes and reporting.
Have governance agreements in place to promote consistency and shared stakeholder expectations.
- Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) should be utilized and must clearly define a path for partnership activities, including financial viability, ability to meet delivery and installation targets, specification adherence, and similar items. To promote success, engagement of CV Pilot partners occurred early in the formation of the project design and throughout Phase 2 of the pilot.
Look beyond partnerships solely with large businesses.
- Many small and medium-sized businesses will be able to be more flexible with accommodating the deployment. Additionally, often in partnerships with smaller businesses, both parties have a common interest in seeing benefits for their local community. However, be cognizant of the more limited depth of staff and resources that smaller organizations may have to offer. In Wyoming, the team found it easier to get smaller truck partners committed to the Pilot than the larger firms; for the smaller firms, even saving just one accident made participation in the Pilot worthwhile for them.
Secure the involvement of top-level decision makers to advocate for your deployment.
- Agencies should not be afraid to approach the higher-up decision makers at their organizations as they can be your biggest champions. In WYDOT’s experiences, the team reached out to WYDOT Director Bill Panos who has since addressed the US Senate committee on intelligent driving systems and the Wyoming Pilot and is now a big proponent of DSRC.
Establish good relationships with your agency’s IT and Telecom groups.
- The New York City team cited the NYCDOT IT department as the biggest partner they had to get involved with. As the pilot had to be integrated with NYCDOT’s IT systems, NYCDOT’s IT group wanted to ensure that access to their resources would be protected and thus took great interest in supporting the IT systems associated with the pilot. The WYDOT team had support not only from the WYDOT Telecommunications staff but also from a number of other WYDOT groups including GIS/ITS, Traffic Engineering, Fleet Operations, Highway patrol, Procurement Services and Program Administration.
Provide adequate incentives to attract driver participation.
- When recruitment for drivers of private vehicles was lagging, THEA updated the toll discount incentive from 30 percent to 50 percent and widened the pool of potential participants to allow non-Reversible Express Lanes (REL) drivers to participate in the study. The Tampa team did run into some challenges with participants cancelling or not showing up for their installation appointments, although most of the time these scenarios stemmed from participants simply forgetting about their appointment. Many potential participants attributed their reluctance to joining the study to the potential for the non-standard equipment the Pilot would require be installed in their vehicle to reduce the vehicle’s trade-in value.