Agencies Gear Up for Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment through New Challenge Initiative By Blaine Leonard

Transportation agencies across the country now have the opportunity to be at the forefront of groundbreaking Vehicle to Infrastructure Deployment, with a little help from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and ITS America.

Connected vehicle applications are only the latest development in a three-decade history of expanding uses and deployments of transportation technologies on the nation’s roadways since the advent of intelligent transportation systems.  The benefits and full vision of connected vehicle technologies, which include a significant decrease in crashes and fatalities, will come when state and local departments of transportation ‘operationalize’ connected vehicles into daily DOT activities, allowing drivers to benefit from them every time they drive. 

However, while there is a clear interest in new connected vehicle technologies and a strong case for the role of infrastructure in them, many agencies are not prepared for deployment. The fast-paced evolution of connected vehicle research and technology presents a moving target for a real understanding of all the components necessary to support nationally consistent and uniform, fully functional deployments, making it hard for agencies to know how or where to jump in. This is where the Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) Challenge was born.

By encouraging and supporting transportation agencies in inaugural deployments of Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) at signalized intersections to support signal phase and timing broadcasts, the SPaT Challenge is a first step toward collectively understanding the challenges and issues that agencies, contractor and vendor communities, and vehicle manufacturers must work through together to achieve a national standard for connected vehicle deployments.  Participating agencies will become familiar with the infrastructure standards and technologies and glean lessons learned that will inform and accelerate future evolution and wider-spread deployment by the automobile manufacturers, the private sector, and the public sector.

The SPaT Challenge encourages state and local public sector transportation infrastructure owners and operators to work together to deploy roadside DSRC infrastructure to broadcast real-time SPaT information and intersection geometry at signalized intersections on at least one road corridor or street network (approximately 20 signalized intersections) in each of the 50 states by January 2020. In order to reach this goal, SPaT Challenge organizers have created a new webpage to assist interested or participating agencies in their pursuit to deploy SPaT messages.

Housed on the National Operations Center of Excellence website, provides guidance on selecting locations for SPaT message broadcasts, procuring DSRC Roadside Units (RSUs) capable of broadcasting the SPaT message, obtaining FCC licenses for those RSUs, and other important information.

Questions on the SPaT Challenge may be directed to Patrick Son