DOT to release RFI to develop networked roads, cars

The Transportation Department will release in the early spring another request for information to advance its effort to develop networked highways where vehicles communicate with the road in an intelligent transportation system.


DOT has received responses from 100 teams to its initial RFI about what is technically available to build vehicle infrastructure integration to reduce congestion and improve traffic safety as part of the SafeTrip-21 initiative, said Paul Brubaker, administrator at DOT's Research and Innovative Technology Administration.

Vehicle infrastructure integration allows vehicles and roads to communicate like a network through sensor technology.

For the upcoming RFI, DOT will focus on information for the business case for an intelligent transportation system, coming up with a plan to determine the requirements and what may go into a potential request for proposals, he said. That will happen in March or April, he said today at an industry event sponsored by AFFIRM.

SafeTrip-21 is a multi-application field test of safety and congestion-reducing technologies. It is to be launched at the 2008 Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress in New York City in November.

DOT is partnering with industry to stand up pilot programs in San Francisco and New York that will use sensors and other technologies so vehicles and the road can communicate to find the best route and avoid accidents and other traffic incidents. DOT also is promoting congestion pricing in badly gridlocked urban areas, Brubaker said. The New York pilot program is being built through the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress and Transportation’s Urban Partnership Program.

Sensors are not new technology, but they are critical to intelligent transportation systems, he said.

“It’s what that sensor is going to enable,” he said. “They’re building sensors along Long Island Expressway, and will cut the ribbon on that Feb. 29.”

DOT has datasets from existing roadside sensors and could make those available to providers of Global Positioning System box manufacturers once they increase the capability of their product. Sensors make paying tolls more efficient with Easy Pass and integrated pay for parking.

Congestion pricing, in which local governments charge higher tolls during high-use times, is another component of Transportation’s initiative.
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“The state legislatures must approve the congestion pricing concept," he said. "Once they have that approval, we’ll move out corresponding investments in transit systems.”

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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