Wyoming DOT (WYDOT) Connected Vehicle Pilot Showcases Safety Technology

The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) conducted an Operational Capability Showcase (or Showcase) on October 30, 2018 at the WYDOT Office Auditorium in Cheyenne, WY. The Showcase was an opportunity for WYDOT to share with the media and other invited attendees the intent of the connected vehicle pilot and its value to travelers on I-80 in southern Wyoming. The WYDOT connected vehicle pilot team’s presentation began with project background, explained the impetus for the project, touched on overall system capabilities, and described next steps for deployment. Data from connected vehicles will be integrated with data from other sources at the WYDOT Transportation Management Center (TMC) providing more timely and increased situational awareness that will benefit all travelers on the 402 miles of I-80 in southern Wyoming. Several pilot partners gave testimonials as to why they are participating in the pilot. After a ribbon cutting, attendees were invited to participate in on-road demonstrations that took place along I-80 and the Archer Complex.

WYDOT meeting

The Showcase was attended by the media, members of the Wyoming Trucking Association, WYDOT pilot partners, and the U.S. DOT. Representatives from several partners made remarks echoing that the pilot offers game-changing technology and will increase safety and efficiency of the transportation system. John Dooley, former WYDOT Commissioner and President of Dooley Oil Inc., stated that all of his drivers are committed to training and taking the opportunity to participate in the pilot. Jack Bedessem, President of Trihydro, said it was a “no brainer to participate in the project.” Tom DeHoff, WYDOT District 1, District Engineer, representing all districts, stressed support for the pilot particularly using technology to increase safety of the field personnel and traveling public. Col. Kebin Haller of the Wyoming Highway Patrol also echoed support to participate in the pilot stressing that timely information from connected vehicle technology will benefit the traveling public.

WYDOT Highway Patrol

Two WYDOT snowplows, a Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicle, and tractor-trailer unit equipped with connected vehicle technology were available for attendees to see first-hand the type of equipment that will be deployed.

WYDOT officials and pilot partners were on hand for the ribbon cutting.

WYDOT Officials

Attendees were invited to go along for an on-road demonstration of several pilot applications. Three connected vehicle applications were demonstrated: Forward Collision Warning, Distress Notification, and I2V Situational Awareness. The forward collision warning application works using vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications. Depending on the situation, a driver could receive a warning of an impending crash with another equipped vehicle – either stopped ahead or ahead moving in the same lane. This application is particularly important for safety along I-80 when snowplows are moving slower that the following traffic and low visibility conditions.

Distress notification uses V2V and vehicle to infrastructure (V2I) communications to warn drivers and alert the TMC operators of a distressed vehicle. Using V2V communications, a vehicle can broadcast or relay a distressed vehicle notification to other vehicles within a specific area. Using V2I communication, a vehicle can broadcast data that is received by a roadside unit (RSU), which then transmits the information to the TMC. The TMC processes the data, and provides information to travelers in the vicinity of the distressed vehicle as well as alerts emergency personnel. The relay feature of this application is a means to augment portions of the 402 miles of I-80 that are not covered by RSUs.

Interior of car

The Infrastructure to Vehicle (I2V) Situational Awareness application compiles important traveler information (e.g., weather alerts, speed restrictions, vehicle restrictions) at the TMC and provides directly to drivers of CV-equipped vehicles using V2I and satellite communications. During on-road demonstrations, variable speed limit (VSL) information and snow conditions were delivered to vehicles in Traveler Information Messages (TIMs). The TIMs are compiled at the TMC and sent over satellite communication and to specific roadside units (RSUs) depending on the nature of the TIM contents. Satellite communication is used to cost-effectively augment RSU coverage of the 402-miles of I-80. RSUs broadcast TIMs using V2I communications.

In case you missed the Showcase, below are links to several media outlets that captured the event:

The next step for the Wyoming pilot is the operational phase where approximately a total of 400 vehicles (to include WYDOT snowplows, Wyoming Highway patrols, and heavy-duty trucks from pilot partners) will be equipped with connected vehicle technology, and 75 roadside units (RSUs) will be deployed at selected locations on the I-80 corridor. Data will be collected for 12 months to support the WYDOT team’s own evaluation and that of the independent evaluator. The USDOT is conducting the independent evaluation to assess the benefit/value of the pilot and to determine how well the pilot attains its goals.