Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program Driving Towards Deployment: Lessons Learned from the Design/Build/Test Phase
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 implement a suite of connected vehicle applications and technologies tailored to meet their region’s unique transportation needs under the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
Following the award, each site spent 12 months preparing a comprehensive deployment concept to ensure rapid and efficient connected vehicle capability roll-out. The sites next completed a 24-month phase to design, build, and test these deployments of integrated wireless in-vehicle, mobile device, and roadside technologies. As of early 2019, the sites are entering a third phase of the deployment where the tested connected vehicle systems will become operational for a minimum 18-month period and will be monitored on a set of key performance measures.
Given the promising future of connected vehicle deployments and the growing early deployer community, experiences and insights across all stages of the Design/Build/Test Phase of the CV Pilots have been collected to serve as lessons learned and recommendations for future early deployer projects and efforts.
The following lessons were identified regarding assessing the infrastructure an agency currently has versus what infrastructure they will need to deploy a robust connected vehicle environment.
Obtain a good understanding of legacy equipment and infrastructure
- Agencies are advised to first gather an understanding of what infrastructure is currently in the field before deploying cutting edge technology. Agencies should consider making existing infrastructure and legacy systems part of their traffic solution. For example, integration with existing legacy systems at the Traffic Management Center (TMC) enables the CV environment to become part of the overall management framework. A significant WYDOT pilot achievement in their connected vehicle functionality has been integrating with the WYDOT TMC and other back office systems. For example, an administrator tool was developed to allow operators to identify weather conditions in real-time and note when these results do not align with the Pikalert forecast. This information is passed to the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to improve the Pikalert system so that accurate forecasts are used by the performance measurement team to support system evaluation. In addition to the administrator tool, a Roadside Unit (RSU) Monitor subsystem was developed to monitor and report on the status of all RSUs deployed along the I-80 corridor in Wyoming. This software code was made available on the OSADP for other state DOTs to download.
Assess field equipment for capabilities that will be needed to support core Connected Vehicle (CV) components
- The infrastructure required for Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) based CV includes but is not limited to: DSRC-based Radio Equipment (both Onboard Units (OBUs) and Roadside Units (RSUs)), advanced traffic signal controllers, backhaul communications, data management systems, and security/credential management systems. This investigation should take into account the security requirements of the existing agency systems and networks as well as their change control procedures, and network management systems. The CV infrastructure will need to be integrated with many of the existing systems.
Embrace the challenges of deploying technologies still at a developmental technological readiness level
- When implementing cutting edge technology, there can often be a lot of hype without follow through. Going into deployment, many of the Pilots were under the impression that the applications were deployment-ready – however this was often not the case. An abundance of time and effort was required to refine the applications. To address the non-deployment ready nature of the applications, New York City explicitly stated in their RFI that they were interested in purchasing turn-key applications, and that any necessary application development would be the responsibility of the vendors. Although WYDOT vendors were tasked with the development of the OBU and RSU applications, the WYDOT team often found themselves having to expend their own resources to trouble-shoot issues and conduct field tests.