Connected Vehicle Pilot Agencies Pursue Different Approaches to CV Deployment

Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA), New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) and the Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) are currently in the installation stage of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Program.  The sites are installing specialized radios and computer systems in vehicles, in mobile devices, and at fixed locations, enabling vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) communication for CV applications that will improve safety and mobility, and reduce environmental impact.  The program is partly funded by USDOT and partly by local agencies.

One reason that USDOT awarded the CV Pilot contract to three different locations is to enable different models of CV deployment to be pursued.  In order for CV technology to be deployed nationwide, the messages and operation must be interoperable across the country, but that does not mean that regional CV deployment must be identical, or must be achieved by the same approach. The three sites have never been in competition with each other; instead, the USDOT has facilitated numerous collaboration meeting to share lessons learned and ensure interoperability between each site.  An appreciation of the three different approaches may prove useful to future CV deployers, helping them to craft a development and deployment approach that has the best chance of working in that region.

The three CV Pilot sites are designed with different goals, driven by the most important needs in each area.  The WYDOT deployment implements applications to improve truck safety and mobility in winter/snow weather and high wind conditions along a rural highway corridor.  The deployment involves a relatively small number of vehicles but is large in geographic scale.  At the other extreme, the NYCDOT deployment involves safety applications for a very large number of vehicles (trucks and taxis) and pedestrians in three signalized urban grid settings.  The THEA deployment focuses on customizing CV applications to address existing problems in specific areas: rear-end collisions and wrong-way entries for Reversible Express Lanes, keeping buses on schedule on a transit corridor, pedestrian safety at a busy crosswalk, and pedestrian and private vehicle hazards to streetcars in a heavily touristed area.

The sites are using Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) for at least one application, and other wireless communication methods, as well as the Security Credential Management System (SCMS) to ensure privacy.  All three sites are using the documented Systems Engineering approach specified by USDOT. However, they are employing different approaches to development and deployment, as highlighted in the following paragraphs.

The WYDOT deployment spans 402 miles of a critical freight corridor (I-80) in Wyoming. 400 vehicles will be equipped withWYDOT Pilot CV technology for this pilot. The existing 24/7 WYDOT Transportation Management Center (TMC) serves as the nerve center of V2I applications and provides overall integration of the CV technology and data into day to day operations.  WYDOT leads the Pilot with close support from its three main team members – each one having a critical role throughout the project lifecycle. Concept formulation & development and overall project management are principally performed by one of the contractors.  System design, development, and integration are performed by a contractor who also works with a development team from WYDOT on integrating the CV Pilot functionality with the WYDOT TMC.  The project followed state government procurement procedures to select one hardware vendor for Roadside Units (RSUs) and two vendors for Onboard Units (OBSUs).  These vendors also developed the software that runs on the RSUs and OBUs.  WYDOT leads the installation efforts for the roadside units as well as fleets. As part of the pilot, WYDOT is forging new partnerships with trucking companies, who will use the CV technology as part of their revenue operations.  A third contractor monitors overall impact of the pilot as well as performance management before and during the demonstration period.

Where possible, WYDOT has relied on open-source development. For example, WYDOT is using two USDOT-developed open-source systems in the pilot - the Operational Data Environment (ODE) and Pikalert to manage the data and applications for the pilot.

THEA is not a state or city agency.  Although it does coordinate with the city of Tampa and the Florida Department of THEA PilotTransportation (FDOT), it is an independent agency that operates Meridian Avenue, the Selmon Expressway, and two other expressways. THEA relies on one principal contractor to provide program management and system integration.  THEA’s other largest partner and infrastructure contractor already provides the hardware and software for managing Tampa’s existing traffic signal and traffic management systems.  In this respect, the project began with a known quantity.  An advantage of this approach is that the infrastructure contractor was able to integrate the new system design into its existing system design.  However, with respect to nationwide deployment, much of the software used in the Tampa deployment is proprietary rather than open source.  Also, some European standards were used, which on one occasion were in conflict with emerging U.S. standards. The USDOT brought THEA and NYCDOT to the table to resolve this standards-related issue.  Like New York and Wyoming, THEA used standard procurement approaches to select a contractor to provide the OBUs and the software that runs on them.

NYCDOT took a third approach to software design and implementation.  NYCDOT and its integration contractor wrote the NYCDOT Pilotrequirements and specifications for the CV and security-related applications, and then included them in the Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for hardware acquisition.  In that process, the commercial firms that bid on providing the hardware are also responsible for providing the CV software.  The acquisition procedure followed acquisition regulations for New York City government purchases.  As a result, the process was deliberate and open, but lengthy, and resulted in a three-month delay to the project schedule.  The NYC permit acquisition process required a separate application for each intersection where a RSU was to be installed, but the USDOT and FCC collaborated to expedite the application process for large (or batch) licenses1 .

The three approaches pursued by the CV Pilot teams have been successful; all three teams are on track for installation and operation of their planned CV deployments.  The teams have documented every stage of their plans and achievements; these documents are available at the USDOT CV Pilot webpage.

Other states and municipalities working toward CV deployment are encouraged to compare the three approaches and the lessons learned from them to help determine which features are likely to work best for them.