Coming to Virginia: Connected Vehicles


World’s largest field test of CV technology is underway in Ann Arbor, Mich. Virginia could be a fast follower.

Over the next couple of years, a consortium of Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia and Morgan State University will conduct 19 research studies of “connected vehicles” in real world traffic conditions. The work is almost ready to begin in Northern Virginia.

Writes Jenifer Joy Madden with Greater Greater Washington:

Researchers have attached tracking equipment to light poles and other roadside infrastructure in and around Merrifield, including stretches of I-66, Lee Highway and Route 50. The roadside equipment will communicate with devices about the size of an E-ZPass installed in 12 “connected vehicles,” including a bus, semi-truck, cars, and motorcycles.

The devices collect data such as acceleration, braking and curve handling. Researchers hope that the new system will dramatically reduce highway crashes, increase fuel efficiency, and improve air quality. …

The research will focus on ways to improve both safety and mobility. “If we can detect initial braking, we can slow vehicles down and message the driver, saying something like ‘Slow traffic ahead. Reduce speed to 45 mph’ or ‘Left lane closed ahead; merge right,'” said VDOT Spokesperson Cathy McGhee.

The Connected Vehicles (CVs) are undergoing testing on the Virginia test track in Blacksburg. CVs, precursors to totally autonomous “driverless” cars, are expected to reduce crash rates by 50%.

I am encouraged to see that the Virginia Department of Transportation is involved. Bringing VDOT into testing process will reduce bureaucratic resistance to deploying these new technologies (assuming they prove as effective as hoped), and accelerate their integration into Northern Virginia’s already-advanced traffic operations centers. Now, if we can just get Virginia’s lawmakers to start  creating a legal framework for CVs and, in a few years, driverless cars, the Old Dominion might actually play a leadership role in this automotive revolution.


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3 responses to “Coming to Virginia: Connected Vehicles

  1. The ideal place to put these things is in the HOT lanes! Then the technology can enable whatever speed is possible – perhaps 10,15,20 mph over the base speed!

    The transponder would be a standard toll transponder “plus” and the incentive would be to get even more of your toll…. and it may become the
    thing that advances BRT – and BRT is also IDEAL for platooning!

    METRO “everywhere”!

    I just don’t see this thing working on surface streets and even mainline untolled interstates but more on restricted lanes… – at least at first – to get the kinks out.

  2. I think all laws should be suspended for HOT lane drivers. If you’re dumb enough to pay several bucks per mile to get what others in Virginia get for free you should be allowed to break any law! I’ll be watching from the free lanes. Imagine the entertainment value as obviously intoxicated drivers steer with their knees while using one hand to shoot at the other drivers and the other to smoke a joint.

    The HOT lanes were yet another stupid transportation trick.

  3. actually, it’s the other way around. The mainline untolled beltway is full of idiots, distracted drivers, and just plain morons who would just as soon cut you off as look at you.

    On the HOT lanes, such behavior is going to get reported pronto – and it’s going to be easy to track down the scofflaw.

    HOT lanes are the future. If you have no choice but to drive solo at rush hour, then you’re making a statement about the importance of your trip – and if you’re not willing to back up that logic with a buck or two, then obviously we know that you have no real priority – other than self-created.

    In the meantime, there ARE people who loath being subjected to the idiots on the mainline… and would gladly pay to get a better class of fellow drivers!

    I predict that scofflaws are going to avoid HOT lanes like the plague… too many ways for them to be identified ….and brought to justice.

    I’m all for it.

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