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 pilot next-generation infrastructure and vehicle technology under the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
The THEA project involves installing radios and computers in over 1600 vehicles (including private cars, buses, and streetcars) and in over 40 fixed locations at downtown intersections to enable ultra-fast vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and smart phone-to-infrastructure communication.
For the pilot, THEA is installing "intelligent" traffic signal controllers to help improve the flow of traffic. As THEA moved into the design phase, the project engineers delved into the details of signal optimization with the designers of the signal control process at the University of Arizona. They learned that signal control optimization can reach its full potential only when over 90% of the vehicles approaching the intersection have known location and speeds. The number of vehicles instrumented for V2I communication as part of the CV Pilot program would provide a far smaller percentage of vehicle coverage.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District 7 and HNTB (THEA’s General Engineering Consultant) came to the rescue with a method for obtaining information on all vehicles approaching the instrumented intersections. After considering several technologies, including loop detectors and microwave detectors, FDOT agreed to pay for the procurement and installation of over 40 video traffic detectors at 12 intersections along Florida Ave. and Nebraska Ave. as part of a Joint Partnering Agreement with THEA. HNTB will provide the design to integrate them with the rest of the CV pilot operation under its existing contract, at no cost to the CV Pilot program. THEA will provide ten "Bluetooth" detectors to determine travel time between points on these streets and along Meridian Avenue. These detection technologies will pick up the needed number of unequipped vehicle without identifying or retaining any information about individual drivers or vehicles.