No more sitting at a red light waiting impatiently for it to change to green when there are no other cars to be found.
No more injured pedestrians struck by buses whose drivers didn’t seem them walking in the crosswalk.
No more getting to work late because of a fender bender on the interstate.
No more deaths because emergency vehicles were slowed by traffic snarls and didn’t make it to a patient on time.
Whether you are traveling by bus, car, train or even your own two feet, there are some technology advances on the horizon that will go a long way to improving the safety, mobility and environmental impact of ground travel. Connected vehicles use wireless technology to communicate with their environment (other vehicles, traffic signals, etc.).
Impact on Your Commute
The three biggest impacts of connected vehicles will be:
1. Reduced Traffic Snarls
True connectivity will be felt when vehicles are working with other systems, such as connections that allow commuters to dynamically access rideshare offerings or traffic signal technology that connects networks of signals and vehicles. You might never again have to sit at a red light when there are no other cars around.
2. Improved Safety
Safety will be at the heart of connected vehicles. For drivers of vehicles, technology will range from speed warnings for drivers who might be taking a sharp turn too quickly or collision warnings alerting you to braking traffic ahead. For pedestrians, safety can include warnings for people standing too close to transit stops or warnings for bus drivers that pedestrians in crosswalks are in the intended path of the bus. Technology also will help first responders by accessing scene information details more readily.
3. Reduced Environmental Impact
Reducing congestion on roads, aiding in ridesharing and helping pedestrians and cyclists travel safely will reduce the environmental impact that congested urban areas face today. Connected technology can capture real-time environmental information that will help cities and towns evaluate their transportation systems' impact on the environment.
Just how far are we from truly intelligent transportation systems? Much closer than you might think.
In the past five years, much research and development related to connected vehicles has been conducted, with the bulk of that work focusing on prototyping and assessment. Automobile manufacturers have already started to install some technologies in their cars.
And the U.S. Department of Transportation recently offered an opportunity to one city in the country to begin to drive connected vehicles even closer to reality. Columbus, Ohio is the winner of the Smart City Competition and the $40 million that goes along with it to show the world what a fully integrated, forward-looking transportation network looks like. Battelle was a partner in the winning proposal.