Connected Vehicles

Connected Vehicle Colorado (CV Colorado) 

Beginning in 2016, Colorado began designing for the deployment of connected vehicle (CV) technology on Colorado roadways. Colorado's initial CV pilot featured the deployment of CV technology along the I-70 Mountain Corridor from Golden, CO to Vail, CO. Since the initial CV deployment footprint, CDOT has a strategy to deploy over 400 miles of Colorado's roadways with CV technology.  

What is a connected vehicle technology?

Connected vehicles feature infrastructure and technology that offer the ability to  communicate directly with roadway operators and infrastructure, enabling CDOT to send notifications about traffic jams, icy road conditions, or signal timing directly to drivers right when they need it to avoid a dangerous situation or improve travel time.

Colorado's CV infrastructure features three main components: physical infrastructure, digital infrastructure and the two connected via a fiber backbone. CDOT's physical infrastructure includes roadside units (RSUs) deployed on the roadside that collect data and information from connected vehicles wirelessly as the travel by the RSU. Physical infrastructure is also present in equipped vehicles and is commonly referred to as an on-board unit (OBU). When an equipped vehicle travels by an RSU, it sends all kinds of robust data 10 times a second! An OBU can receive information from other onboard or roadside units operating on the same spectrum. These units  speak to each other without any action from the driver. Roadside units can receive timely information from connected vehicles such as traffic speed, road conditions, or crashes. Additionally, the roadside units can also send information to the connected vehicles to notify drivers of conditions ahead. 

Recognizing the importance of reliable, real-time communication, CDOT has a fiber backbone that several intelligent transportation system (ITS) devices. The fiber backbone ensures continuous, real-time connection between CDOT's roadside infrastructure and traffic management or data centers to ensure continuous flow of data that support real-time operations. 

CV technology can enable real-time vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication, which can drastically improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.

As CV technology continues to evolve and innovate, vehicles are becoming smart and more connected than ever. Technology exists that allows a vehicle to connect to an endless list of sources and applications (known as vehicle-to-everything or V2X).

What information do connected vehicles share?

A connected vehicle has the potential to share tremendous amounts of data including things such as location, speed, heading, direction, steering wheel angle, airbag status, windshield wiper status, and more. The package of information all vehicles share is called a basic safety message (BSM), and all connected vehicles speak the same language, so a connected vehicle from one automaker is able to talk to any other. The basic safety messages does not include any personally identifiable information about the vehicle or driver itself. The federal standards governing connected vehicle information prevents the technology from being used for tracking or enforcement purposes.

How will connected vehicles benefit Colorado?

Research from the US Department of Transportation concludes that connected vehicles could help prevent up to 81% of unimpaired crashes and dramatically improve the capacity of our roadways. Since 2011, Colorado has seen a 45% increase in traffic fatalities, and congestion continues to grow and threaten the engine of our economy. Connected vehicles provide a significant opportunity to leverage technology to improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.

How is CDOT using connected vehicle technology?

CDOT is deploying roadside infrastructure to begin leveraging the benefits of connected vehicles throughout the state. Colorado's CV expansion features one of the largest deployments of CV technology in country capable of communicating with connected vehicles at a significant scale. Future expansion features significantly traveled roadways such as: I-25, I-225, I-270, and I-70. The CV future deployment map is featured on the right. 

Connected Vehicle Benefits:

  • Safety: Colorado had over 10,400 roadway crashes in 2018. CV technology has the ability to prevent crashes by informing drivers with timely information such as an obstacle, queue, or other hazards ahead.
  • Mobility: U.S. highway users wasted 6.9 billion hours stuck in traffic in 2014 (Texas Transportation Institute, JPO ITS, US DOT). CV technology can help drivers navigate the road more efficiently, as well as providing roadway information to operators to assist with traffic management that can reduce congestion, travel delay, and improve the overall mobility of our roadway.  (JPO ITS, US DOT).
  • Environment: CV technology has tremendous opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of vehicles on our roadway. For example, optimized signal operations and freeway lane management applications can yield fuel savings of up to 22 percent. (JPO ITS, US DOT).