The Transportation Research Board (TRB) Highway Traffic Monitoring Committee is a standing committee that was originally formed in 1985 as a Weigh-In-Motion Task Force and that developed into an ITS-oriented committee that studies all functions of traffic monitoring programs. In anticipation of the release of a new Transportation Research Circular, the committee surveyed the state of the practice, best practices, current issues, needs, and research gaps for topics covered in the Circular.
Connected Vehicles (CV)s are those that have the ability to communicate with nearby vehicles, infrastructure, or even with devices held by pedestrians. Through this communication, CVs can ensure that they respond quickly and effectively to traffic conditions, for example by matching their speed with nearby vehicles to safely drive much more closely than human drivers normally could.
In the United States, there are three pilot deployments funded by the USDOT in New York City; Tampa, Florida; and Wyoming. They are intended to document lessons-learned and serve as a template to assist other CV deployments. the AASHTO Signal Phase and Timing (SPAT) Deployment Challenge is spearheading an effort to deploy a dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) infrastructure with SPaT broadcasts in approximately 20 signalized intersections in each of the 50 states.
Although CV deployments are still immature, the researchers identified several best practices from the existing pilots.
- Ensure the privacy of users from whom data is collected. Travelers have expressed a strong preference to not be tracked or have their destinations discoverable by public or private entities. In response, there is a push to anonymize captured data; however, this can limit the effectiveness of data analysis and calibration. Some proposed solutions include enforcing stringent privacy protection measures with public data or by creating opt-in scenarios with possible benefits to users who share more information.
- Prioritize the security of data and systems. The distributed communications network and equipment ownership of connected and autonomous vehicles create a prime vector of attack. CV implementations should incorporate lessons learned from existing IoT systems to mimize risk.
- Work to establish equity of deployments. There is currently concern that CVs will only be available to wealthy drivers. As part of its response, USDOT is actively investigating ways in which CVs can assist disabled individuals by communicating more clearly and accurately with pedestrians.
- Share and coordinate data. Data ownership and management are a persistent issue among transportation agencies. Coordination with neighboring agencies can result in safety improvements, congestion mitigation, and cost savings.