Interstate 80

The Wyoming Department of Transportation is preparing to install transmitters along Interstate 80 that could help inform drivers of real-time road conditions.

The transmitters will initially only work with Wyoming Highway Patrol vehicles and WYDOT snowplows as the next phase of the Connected Vehicle Development Program.

Wyoming, Florida and New York were selected in September 2015 to pilot the program. The connected vehicle system uses information from vehicles traveling on Interstate 80 to inform other drivers and WYDOT of road hazards, such as poor weather conditions and potential collisions.

WYDOT GIS/ITS Project Manager Ali Ragan said vehicles connected to the system through a short range radio would send out information WYDOT and other drivers could use to be alerted of road conditions.

“Connected vehicles is a technology that allows vehicles to talk with other connected vehicles and talk with roadside infrastructure,” Ragan said. “Other vehicles in the transportation stream can pick up those messages, and then using applications, they can use that information to create alerts for drivers.”

Wyoming was chosen for the pilot program because of the number of trucks traveling on Interstate 80 and that in 2016 there were more than 1,600 collisions on the interstate, of which 18 were fatal, she said

“We think it’s because there is a real need for improved safety on Interstate 80 and we think that connected-vehicle technology can really help,” Ragan said. “Clearly, there are weather concerns on (Interstate 80). In addition, there have been some large crashes involving multiple vehicles, and we think that maybe with some connected-vehicle technology we can give drivers earlier warning about what is happening in the traffic stream.”

The pilot program is currently in its design phase.

“So far, it is going really well, Ragan said. “We’re in phase two, which is one of the design development phases … We’ve already put up some (radios) on the roadside. We’re actively installing more roadside units on (Interstate 80) and for the upcoming winter we plan to have WYDOT snowplows outfitted and highway patrol vehicles outfitted.”

The information transferred from the vehicles would only transmit the vehicle’s speed and direction of travel, and personal information from private vehicles will not be transmitted, Ragan said.

“With connected-vehicle technology, vehicles using the (radios) send out what is called a basic safety message 10 times a second,” she said. “So, 10 times a second, your vehicle will broadcast its location, its speed and its (direction), so basically it will say ‘This is where I’m at, I’m going 75 mph northbound.’”

Go to wydotcvp.wyoroad.info for more information on the pilot Connected Vehicle Development Program.

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