Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Connected Traffic System for Emergency Responders is Demonstrated in Arizona

The small but new community of Anthem, just north of Phoenix, has the potential to become the nation's leader in traffic safety technology.

The north Maricopa Valley community is the test site for a new, federally-funded and state-supported traffic management system that, if successful, would not only protect emergency vehicles from colliding with traffic during rapid response, but would enable them to "talk" to each other and prioritize each other's routes to an emergency incident.

The MCDOT SmartDrive program -- developed through a partnership between the University of Arizona, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation, the community of Anthem and others -- could also be expanded to give city buses, special needs vehicles, and other mass transportation providers a clear path through traffic tie-ups in near-real time.

A live demonstration of the MCDOT SmartDrive system in April 2012 included equipping several street intersections and vehicles in Anthem with system components to demonstrate the capabilities of the system to manage emergency vehicles during a mock incident response. Traffic signals at six intersections along a 2.3-mile stretch of Daisy Mountain Drive were retrofitted with components that allow the signals to "talk" to not only each other, but with at least two other emergency vehicles involved in the demonstration. The SmartDrive system uses a combination of short range radios, WiFi and Bluetooth to maintain connection.

When the incident alert alarm was given to the system, it began clearing a path of green lights for the mock emergency vehicle -- in this case, a Valley Metro bus loaded with demonstration observers -- while at the same time disclosing the location of the vehicle to coordinators and other vehicles connected to the system. Traffic detection and data collection software were used to display the data live to observers.

Individual emergency vehicles can "talk" to each other via the SmartDrive system, receiving real time information during an incident response and assigning priority right of way to fire trucks, police vehicles or ambulances, depending on the circumstances of the individual incident. "It's the capability to talk to several responding vehicles at once that makes this traffic system unique, and is the focus of our research," said Larry Head, associate professor of systems and industrial engineering at the University of Arizona College of Engineering.

Operators of vehicles in the system would know which lanes are closed, and could select alternate routes to more efficiently reach emergencies, or to find a clear outbound corridor to say, a hospital or other emergency services destination. If additional emergency vehicles are heading in the direction of the incident, they would be able to find the fastest routes through traffic, Head said.

Assisting in the system research are UA engineering graduate student Jun Ding, who is studying for both his masters in systems engineering and his PhD in electrical and computer engineering, and Wei Wu, a visiting scholar from Tonghi University in Shanghi China.

The MCDOT SmartDrive test site in Anthem is part of a larger, federal research initiative called ITS, or Intelligent Transportation Systems program. It gets support from the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of a broader series of research initiatives that would eventually connect all vehicles involved in surface transportation together to maximize safety, increase ground mobility, and decrease environmental impact. A second national test site in California is operated by the California Department of Transportation, or CALTRANS.

The SmartDrive system technology has another beneficial application that's also in the works: increasing city bus efficiency. Providing public transit vehicles access to the SmartDrive system would allow buses and shuttles to operate more efficiently, stay on schedule, and provide better service, if given traffic signal priority at SmartDrive intersections. "Transit and school buses would run on time and more reliably, and would make public transit more attractive," said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, in an April 26 blog post describing the Arizona SmartDrive project.

While officials finalize the details of getting the SmartDrive system fully operational in Anthem, Head confirms the next step in the development of the system is adding public buses and school buses.

Head also said there are plans to use the Anthem field test site to support other research, including field testing an application that would allow pedestrians to send need-to-cross signals directly to traffic lights from their mobile phones. The phones would also be able to let visually impaired pedestrians receive red or green light signals. This research is being developed in partnership with Santa Clara, Calif.-based Savari Inc., he said.

More information on the development of the SmartDrive system can be found here
More information on the U.S. Department of Transportation's connected vehicle research initiative is here

And more information on the systems and industrial engineering department at the University of Arizona is here

Steve Delgado | Newswise Science News
Further information:

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Bremen University students reach the final at robotics competition with parcel delivery robot
19.10.2016 | BIBA - Bremer Institut für Produktion und Logistik

nachricht Discovering electric mobility in a playful way
18.08.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>