Through the U.S. Department of Transportation's (U.S. DOT) SafeTrip-21 Initiative, the U.S. DOT tested a variety of technologies in a number of locations in California as well as along the I-95 corridor on the east coast. The work was summarized in a final report dated March 2011. This report presents the findings of the independent national evaluation of eight ITS applications. Part I of the report provides an overview of the initiative and the evaluation activities. Part II summarizes each application that was tested and the related evaluation findings. Part III synthesizes the evaluation findings across four topics relevant to the ITS community - collecting and using traffic conditions data, providing real-time traffic information to drivers, providing multi-modal travel information to travelers, and providing safety information to drivers.
The SafeTrip-21 Initiative developed new approaches to address distracted driving. Organizations and individuals are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers associated with distracted driving. The U.S. DOT is a leader in terms of delivering this message to citizens and shaping the research which will advance techniques for mitigating distracted driving. In fact, several SafeTrip-21 tests were re-scoped during this evaluation to better address distracted driving concerns. As a result, the SafeTrip-21 Initiative advanced knowledge and technological solutions to reduce distracted driving. Below are some of the lessons learned during the evaluation of the SafeTrip-21 Initiative that focuses on improving safety with the deployment of these applications:
- Assess vehicle location, speed and direction along with the ability to predict potential driving path conflicts and transmit alerts to the driver to provide needed capability to minimize driver distraction.
- Communicate alerts designed to orient drivers to general traffic conditions ahead, and therefore, make them more attentive to the driving environment to help reduce driver distraction.
- Use "Geofencing" as an approach to limiting driver distraction.
- Continue to explore avenues for advancements in technology to prevent driver distraction as well as instilling a safety culture mindset to support the goal of a change in driver behavior.
The evaluation findings in the National Evaluation of the Safetrip-21 Initiative final report indicate that the SafeTrip-21 Initiative has advanced its goals of expanding research related to vehicle connectivity in the wireless communications environment; advancing ITS applications; and exploring benefits of deployment-ready applications that provide enhanced safety, real-time information, and navigation assistance. These findings along with the lessons learned provide a valuable resource to those considering the implementation of ITS applications for improved traffic operations and management.
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