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Wyoming project connects snowplows, trucks, and fleet management centers

WYDOT’s project under the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program will connect snowplows, trucks, fleet management centers and roadside equipment to provide enhanced advisories to trucks and personal vehicles on the Interstate 80 corridor in Wyoming. The pilot will develop applications that use vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle connectivity to support a flexible range of services from advisories, roadside alerts, parking notifications and dynamic travel guidance. The goal is to improve the safety of the traveling public and reduce the incidents associated with adverse weather conditions frequently encountered on the corridor. I-80, which reaches its highest elevation at 8,640 feet between Cheyenne and Laramie, is a major corridor for east-west freight movement in the northwest part of the country. Through this pilot, WYDOT hopes to improve safety and freight mobility along the corridor through a reduction in the number of truck blowover incidents, secondary incidents, and road closures. Since 2011, more than 200 blowovers were reported related to high wind events. On Jan. 5 of this year alone, there were 18 crashes attributed to the wind. From October 2007 to April 2012, there were 86 road closures along the Wyoming I-80 corridor, and the average duration for these closures was more than eight hours. “We’ve made several process changes to WYDOT’s operations over the course of several years, such as closing roads to light, high profile vehicles during strong wind events and implementing variable speed limits to harmonize traffic flows. But it’s clear that the increased traffic on Interstate 80 will demand an even greater focus on safety, and we think the connected vehicle technologies will help us reach our goal of improving safety while increasing mobility,“ Vince Garcia, WYDOT’s GIS/ITS program manager said. WYDOT will conduct the pilot in three phases as directed by the federal contract. In the first phase, which elaborates the deployment concepts, WYDOT will be supported by a multidisciplinary team including ICF International, University of Wyoming, National Center for Atmospheric Research, TriHydro, University of Maryland Center for Advanced Transportation Technologies, and McFarland Management. Additional partners and stakeholders will be engaged in the development and deployment phases of the pilot. The USDOT is providing about $730,000 for the first phase of the project, and the combined cost of all three phases is projected to be about $5.2 million. The I-80 corridor in Wyoming is one of only three locations around the nation the USDOT selected to participate in the Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program. “We’re very excited to have this opportunity to explore using this innovative technology to improve safety and traffic flow on I-80 in Wyoming,” WYDOT Director John Cox said. “Much of the freight moving from West Coast ports to the Midwest uses that highway, which can experience rapidly changing and extreme weather conditions. Anything we can do to help get road and traffic condition information to the drivers on the highway will improve safety for travelers in commercial and private vehicles.” WYDOT expects to work closely with federal partners to define the program requirements and deliver a scalable and replicable pilot that is a model for rural states to take advantage of vehicle and infrastructure connectivity. For additional information regarding the pilot project in Wyoming, please contact Ali Ragan, WYDOT’s project manager, at 777-2985. h/t WYDOT #shortgo