Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program Independent Evaluation: Mobility Impact Assessment—Wyoming
Connected vehicle (CV) technologies utilize advanced wireless communications to share information between vehicles, devices, and the infrastructure to enable potential safety improvements and mobility enhancements. The Wyoming CV Pilot Deployment (CVPD) focused on enhancing dissemination of travel information during winter weather events to reduce the potential of multi-vehicle collisions involving commercial trucks. The pilot was located along 402 miles of I-80 in southern Wyoming, focusing on communication with commercial truck drivers and fleet managers that travel the I-80 corridor, with 76 roadside units deployed. In October 2019, building upon an existing Wyoming Department of Transportation (DOT) application, the Wyoming CVPD created a microservice to create and distribute traveler information messages (TIMs) for wireless distribution. TIMs were sent to a data exchange, where satellite providers could pull the messages and then distribute over satellite-based communications infrastructure. The post-deployment independent evaluation began in January 2021, and included an independent mobility impacts assessment of the Wyoming CVPD and an assessment of lessons reported by the project team.
- Use existing standards in the system architecture and design process. It is important to ensure a common understanding and interpretation of standards by the technology vendors and application developers. Minimizing configuration issues could help with accurate delivery of information to applications.
- Ensure proper testing prior to deployment. It is essential to provide adequate time in the schedule for testing, including the test planning process and the execution of the testing. Testing should also reoccur to ensure the functionality of the technology continues working and is not affected by firmware upgrades and modifications. Testing could also avoid any problems or malfunctions in the technology occurring during the deployment. In this project, it was found that redundancy should be implemented to allow recovery from equipment and application maturity issues. Using a second technology was essential for the continuity of data flow for the success of the deployment.
- Plan for collaboration between partnerships among different disciplines. Deployers may encounter technical issues, which may result in inadequate documentation for some applications. To overcome technical challenges, it is crucial to have access to knowledgeable personnel with specialized expertise.
- Consider variability in the installation of CV technologies depending on the type of vehicle. It was determined that installation for commercial fleet vehicles was different for automobiles. In fact, commercial fleet vehicles had different antenna and information constraints. It was also crucial to determine the placement of the antenna for each vehicle type to ensure maximum coverage range. Another issue encountered was that many fleet operators leased vehicles and equipment that needed to be returned to the original vendor for installation approval.
- Organize deployment documentation by keeping documents up to date. Changes in production may occur as deployment progresses, therefore it is important for developers to keep as-built documentation current. It is also essential to plan for potential errors and installation issues, and methods to resolve them. This CV pilot showed that including health monitoring and self-checking for errors was effective in alerting operators of any malfunctions in the systems. Methods should also be provided for contractors to provide more accurate information about work zone locations and duration.
- Monitor the quality control of messages to ensure accuracy of TIMs. Vehicles may not receive TIMs correctly, and the messages may not match what was sent by the Traffic Management Center. It is important to implement quality checks by individuals to ensure that message quality is maintained. Agencies also need a method to collect a standard set of information for reporting errors to developers. It was shown in this project that a well-informed and active reporting team was essential in identifying errors in TIMs.