Perform early real-world testing of connected vehicle technology with actual infrastructure in place to verify end-to-end system/application performance
U.S. Department of Transportation Free Public Webinar Series on the Connected Vehicle Pilot Sites System Design Process
Made Public Date


United States

Tampa (THEA) Pilot Update at the System Design Milestone webinar


Sponsored by the USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), the CV Pilot Deployment Program is a national effort to deploy, test, and operationalize cutting-edge mobile and roadside technologies and enable multiple CV applications. These innovative technologies and applications have the potential for immediate beneficial impacts – to save lives, improve personal mobility, enhance economic productivity, reduce environmental impacts, and transform public agency operations. The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) awarded three cooperative agreements collectively worth more than $45 million to initiate a Design/Build/Test/Deploy Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment Program to three agencies: Wyoming DOT, New York City (NYC) DOT, and Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA). From September 2015 to September 2016, each site prepared a comprehensive deployment concept to ensure a rapid and efficient connected vehicle capability roll-out. The three sites next embarked on a 20-month phase to design, build, and test these deployments of integrated wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. In this set of webinars, the three pilot sites shared with the general public the conceptual overviews and status reports of the three pilot projects, as well as the technical challenges and lessons learned of the system design process, including those regarding security, regulation, certification, app and device development, data management and data sharing, interoperability, etc.

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned from the Tampa (THEA) Connected Vehicle Pilot Update at the System Design Milestone webinar:

Use a professional to manage and perform privately owned vehicle installs
Since participants’ personal vehicles were being used for the project, THEA wanted to ensure there would be no damage to the vehicles. The team wanted it to look like the vehicles with the new devices came straight out of the factory. Do your research and hire someone in the industry with a good reputation for this.

Ensure you are solving real world problems
Follow the engineering design process. Do not first pose a solution and then look for problems that the solution might fit. Ask the right questions to ensure you are addressing the right problems.

Prepare for the prep work required for a successful deployment
Before the design process can take place, you need to arrange to have all the necessary permits, get detailed maps of intersections, etc. Acquiring all the necessary information involves working with various vendors and utility companies.

Design only using published standards, if no standard exists, refer to USDOT V2I Hub publication
Design using the most up to date standard and do not rely on unpublished standards or standards in progress.

  • If a USA standard does not exist, design using international standards
  • If no standard exists, refer to USDOT V2I Hub publication and see how it was designed in the past. The THEA team ran into one issue with the controller and RSU where there was not a published standard. The team referred to the V2I Hub and ended up using the Controller Broadcast Message.

Identify common requirements that affect interoperability (such as crosswalks) before the design starts and cross reference requirements for all interfaces
In pursuance of interoperability among the pilots, the three pilot sites did a good job going through the interfaces to make them common. In one notable example, NYC and Tampa had different requirements for how to define crosswalks within the MAP message. While Tampa was following the European standard, the same standard did not fulfill all the requirements for NYC. In the end, Tampa was required to standardize around NYC’s approach.

Be prepared to self-certify devices for instances where independent labs have gaps in their coverage
THEA is using the certification labs to certify their devices for enrollment in the SCMS. For instances where the certification labs have gaps in their coverage and are unable to perform the necessary tests, THEA is doing the tests themselves and will publish those results in a Conformance Statement. Such a Conformance Statement that allowed THEA to self-certify missing links mitigated the risk posed by the certification process lagging behind the design process.

Supplement location services with other technology for Pedestrian Detection applications where you need precise location
Location services are often "off" just enough to make safety-critical applications inefficient. During THEA’s testing for their pedestrian detection application, the location services did not work at 100 percent accuracy for crash avoidance, leading to the decision to use LIDAR for ground truth.

Factor real-world test results into supplier selection
Perform multiple tech scans using RFPs (with on the road testing) to identify promising suppliers who can meet system, cost and project timing, critical to scrutinize and select the best suppliers

Source suppliers early to create a collaborative environment

  • To understand how system requirements are implemented in the design
  • To source suppliers who are willing to participate in developing open specifications
  • Who can meet aggressive timing with quality as they have adequate development time, always aspects requiring customization of off the shelf technology/standards

Collaborate with suppliers around common specifications
It is important not to force solutions upon the suppliers. This allows suppliers to use their existing proprietary technology and know-how to meet needed requirements.

Perform careful line of site surveys for vehicle antennas to ensure proper vehicle communications
Curves in the road can result in a degradation of the DSRC communications between vehicles and the RSUs. Sites are advised to perform careful site surveys to make sure they have proper line of sight. If you do not have proper line of sight out of one antenna (due to an odd shaped intersection), you can deploy an additional antenna.

Perform early real-world testing with actual infrastructure in place to verify end-to-end system/application performance (Over-the-air (OTA), data management, security, etc.)
Tampa credits a lot of their success to one of their suppliers who graciously hosted an environment for interoperability testing at a site in Austin, Texas, as well as doing additional testing in Tampa within the deployment area under real-life conditions.

Test new development efforts (e.g. OTA and security) early in the program and solicit outside help if needed
The team was also able to benefit from recommendations received from white-hat hackers on how to improve security. It is recommended to utilize encryption in the over-the-air updates to avoid cyber attacks.