The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Office of Vehicle Safety Research conducted a field operational test (FOT) to demonstrate the feasibility of implementing automated collision notification (ACN) systems to improve motorist safety. The study area included both rural and suburban areas of Erie County, New York. ACN was deployed from July 1997 through August 2000.
The primary cost components of the prototype system are shown below.
Dispatch Center Costs
Dispatch center equipment capital costs were approximately $23,300. This covered personal computers, uninterruptible power supplies, fax modems, Ethernet cards, phone equipment; and software for dispatch equipment at both the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and the Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).
The dispatch center equipment development costs were approximately $152,400. These costs included dispatch system design, the design and development of dispatch communications software, design and development of dispatcher user interface, system integration efforts, and dispatcher system component testing.
The costs to install dispatch center equipment at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and ECMC were estimated at $5,600. These costs included computer equipment installation and telephone line installation.
The dispatch center training costs were estimated at $5,000. These costs included expenses for initial training, and operations testing at the Erie County Sheriff’s Office and ECMC.
The repair and maintenance costs for dispatch center equipment were estimated at $15,000. These costs included expenses for routine maintenance checks, updating software, and resolving voice quality problems. Routine operating costs such as monthly phone costs were not included.
It should be noted that the costs of in-vehicle systems in the source report were not considered representative of future ACN systems. The FOT evaluated a prototype system, and the costs were incurred in 1996 and 1997.
The capital cost for the in-vehicle system was $995 per unit (1,000 units totaled $995,000). These costs included $549 for the in-vehicle module (GPS receiver, accelerometer, and data modem) and $446 for the cellular phone equipment, GPS antenna, and back-up battery.
The cost to develop the in-vehicle module (IVM) was estimated at $1,412,811. These costs included the design and development of the IVM hardware, firmware, and software; development of the communications and crash severity software; development of manufacturing drawings; system integration efforts; and conducting component and system tests.
The cost to install the in-vehicle system was estimated at $70 per unit. Installation costs for all test vehicles were estimated at $57,000.
The costs to repair and maintain in-vehicle systems during the FOT totaled approximately $129,000. These cost included roughly $80,000 for service calls and $49,000 for software upgrades. The service call costs covered over 300 service calls, the investigation of false crash notifications, and the removal of faulty in-vehicle modules. Software upgrade costs included the development and installation of software needed to improve operations with cell phones in roaming mode, and to inhibit false crash notifications due to unrealistic spikes in accelerometer readings or unstable power conditions. Routine operating costs were not included.