Programs

Connected Vehicles

What is a connected vehicle?

Connected vehicles (CV) offer the ability for vehicles to “talk” with other vehicles, roadway infrastructure, and traffic operators. Vehicles today are becoming more and more connected to our transportation system and other vehicles. Vehicles of today not only have more sophisticated sensors and technology that can constantly survey the environment around the vehicle, but also offer the ability to send information to other users on the roadway and transportation operators. A connected vehicle can broadcast that information  to other surrounding connected vehicles, as well as communicating to roadway operators, charged with the safe management of our roadways.  By sharing information in real-time, vehicles can send customized, just-in-time notifications to drivers to avoid incidents such as crashes, poor roadway conditions, work zones, back up’s and many more incidents that can plague our roadways.

For example, this vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication can warn a driver of someone slamming on their brakes several cars ahead that is beyond the view of the driver  – or warn them before they enter an intersection of a driver about to run a red light.

Connected vehicles offer the ability to  communicate directly with roadway operators, 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. Both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication can drastically improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.

As CV technology continues to envolve 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-x, V2X).

What is a connected vehicle?

Connected vehicles (CV) offer the ability for vehicles to “talk” with other vehicles, roadway infrastructure, and traffic operators. Vehicles today are becoming more and more connected to our transportation system and other vehicles. Vehicles of today not only have more sophisticated sensors and technology that can constantly survey the environment around the vehicle, but also offer the ability to send information to other users on the roadway and transportation operators. 

A connected vehicle can broadcast that information  to other surrounding connected vehicles, as well as communicating to roadway operators, charged with the safe management of our roadways.  By sharing information in real-time, vehicles can send customized, just-in-time notifications to drivers to avoid incidents such as crashes, poor roadway conditions, work zones, back up’s and many more incidents that can plague our roadways.

For example, this vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication can warn a driver of someone slamming on their brakes several cars ahead that is beyond the view of the driver  – or warn them before they enter an intersection of a driver about to run a red light.

Connected vehicles offer the ability to  communicate directly with roadway operators, 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. Both vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication can drastically improve the safety and efficiency of our transportation system.

As CV technology continues to envolve 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-x, V2X).

What information do connected vehicles share?

They share all sorts of information that can be used to avoid crashes or improve travel, including 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, 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 does a connected vehicle work?

A connected vehicle broadcasts information through aftermarket device known as an onboard unit (OBU). 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.

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. Touted the Internet of Roads, Colorado is building the first transportation system in the country capable of communicating with connected vehicles at a significant scale. By partnering with Panasonic, Colorado is building the tools it needs to communicate directly to drivers right when they need it to avoid crashes and improve traffic flow for everyone.

When will connected vehicles be available?

Several automakers are making strides in enabling connection to their vehicles. For example, the Cadillac CTS Sedan features technology that can send and receive timely roadway information to other vehicles equipped with the technology, as well as the smart roadside units. Similarly, Toyota has announced plans to equip several models in the United States with the technology by 2021, and by 2025 they plan for all vehicles they make to be connected. Many other automakers, freight carriers, and aftermarket companies are making similar commitments to connected vehicles. CDOT seeks to enable these technologies as they become available, including  preparation to ensure Colorado’s transportation system can effectively communicate with these vehicles.

Connected Vehicle Benefits:

  • Safety: Colorado had over XXXX 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 hazard 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).

CDOT has partnered with Panasonic Corporation of North America to build the world’s first full scale connected environment along the I-70 Mountain Corridor,  offering the capability to support commercial-scale deployment of connected vehicles.

The partnership began in 2017 and continues through 2022, when the entire connected vehicle ecosystem will be fully operational. The project consists of three main components:

  • Deployment of V2X roadside units along 90 miles of I-70 from Golden to Vail
  • Installation of the V2X onboard radios in at least 2,500 vehicles. The installations feature retrofits of width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"existing vehicles in order to enable sending and receiving of critical safety and mobility messages over the 5.9 GHz channel.
  • Development of an operations and application platform where CDOT can collect, interpret, and analyze connected vehicle data to improve the transportation system, and also create and send messages to vehicles in real-time so drivers can avoid crashes, hazards, or congestion.

The data platform will be capable of supporting connected vehicles throughout all roadways in Colorado, not just the I-70 corridor

The platform strives to be open and interoperable, meaning anonymized connected vehicle data will be openly shared, others can build additional functionality for the entire system, including connected vehicle applications that can  work within the system. Similar to an operating system on your phone or computer, the platform enables CDOT to provide universal service and user experience throughout Colorado.

The Panasonic V2X project is being delivered in phases. Phase 1 is the deployment of roadside infrastructure and V2I functionality, along with initial installs of onboard units on vehicles. Phase 2 will focus on infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communication and the creation of traveler information messages sent directly to connected vehicles and  the broadcasting of signal phasing and timing information. This phase will also complete installation of 2,500 onboard units in a mix of different vehicle fleets. Phase 3 features collaboration with automakers to ensure interoperability between vehicles equipped with CV capability by auto manufacturers and CDOT’s system Phase 4 features advanced data analytics to predict traffic conditions and ingest useful, existing data sources such as, but not limited to: roadway weather information systems, navigation mobile applications, fleet logistics, and many more data sources. Phase 5 will ensure systemic integration throughout the State, finalize functionality and prepare for full-scale deployment.


SPaT Challenge

The Signal Phasing and Timing Challenge (SPaT) from the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) challenges infrastructure owners and operators in all 50 US states to broadcast signal phasing and timing information from at least 20 traffic signals using dedicated short range communication (DSRC) by 2020. By broadcasting SPaT directly from the signal using DSRC, connected and automated vehicles will have communication directly with the signal to know when a light will turn red or green, and CDOT will get real-time information about the traffic system. This communication can enable a number of benefits like adaptive signal control, red light violation warnings, and other applications to improve the safety and mobility of the system. DSRC at traffic signals can also assist autonomous driving systems by providing a reliable source of information to inform safe operation.

Colorado is excited to be responding to the Challenge by equipping two main arterial corridors in the Denver Metro area with the equipment to broadcast SPaT. Those two corridors are Wadsworth Blvd (SH 121) and Arapahoe Rd (SH 88), which includes about 62 CDOT traffic signals.


Contact
Ashley Nylen, PMP
Connected and Autonomous Technologies Program Manager
Intelligent Transportation Systems
P: 303.512.5824 
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