With the right information arriving in the right place at the right time, a transportation system can run more smoothly, and smoother operations can lead to safer operations. Communicating data from traffic infrastructure to connected vehicles, for instance, can enhance both traffic efficiency and road safety by delivering critical, just-in-time information. In fact, some consider this communication—this data sharing between stakeholders, which enables data sharing between end points like traffic signals and vehicles—to be the very future of transportation systems.
A public-private partnership between TTS (Traffic Technology Services), an information service provider for connected and automated vehicles and applications, and DOTs (Depts. of Transportation) in California, Colorado, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Oregon, and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, demonstrates how data sharing can inform and enable V2I (vehicle-to-infrastructure) technologies and improve traffic flow as well as safety. Kiel Ova, head of government affairs and partnerships at TTS says the company establishes data-sharing agreements with DOTs whereby TTS receives data about system operations and returns customer or end user experiences to the DOT to improve and monitor system performance.
With ODOT (Oregon DOT), Ova says in partnership with ODOT’s existing vendor, TransCore, TTS incorporated an API (application programming interface) into the central traffic control management system to receive realtime status information about traffic signal indications—e.g., whether the light ahead is green, yellow, or red. TTS’ core technology, its information service product called Personal Signal Assistant, predicts traffic signal controller operations and adds value to connected and automated vehicle applications.
Audi is one company that uses TTS Personal Signal Assistant technology to add value to its connected-vehicle applications. Audi connect PRIME, one of Audi’s in-car connectivity subscription options, offers Traffic Light Information technologies, including GLOSA (green light optimized speed advisory) and TTG (time to green). Utilizing onboard 4G/LTE (long-term evolution), GLOSA and TTG technologies connect vehicles in certain cities with the infrastructure in order to provide basic traffic signal information, like whether the signal is green, yellow, or red, as well as actionable data like what speed a driver should maintain to avoid stopping at an upcoming red light and, if already stopped at a red light, how long it will be until the signal turns green.
In partnership with TTS and Audi, VDOT (Virginia DOT) recently expanded its V2I services to include 1,450 signals, with the potential to double and reach 3,000 across the state, thereby providing more opportunities for realtime data sharing between connected signals and equipped Audi vehicles. VDOT anticipates ROI (return on investment) will come in the form of improved operations and enhanced safety on roadways. VDOT points to the potential of future iterations of V2I technology to improve road and vehicle safety, including integration with a vehicle’s start/stop function, optimized navigation routing, and other predictive services.
While Ora says the main benefits of Audi’s TTS-enabled applications in use in states like Virginia are currently in the environmental realm (reducing idling and start/stops, etc.), as the systems mature, additional applications will be developed from the same source information that will have more safety benefits. “Indirectly, the TTS technology through the Audi TTG and GLOSA applications do address ‘dilemma zones,’ where the driver is anticipating the change from green to yellow/red clearance,” he explains. “In addition, there are more opportunities that a vehicle will reduce speed and avoid stopping all together, which is safer traffic flow.”