Contractors for the Ohio Department of Transportation are expected to complete the installation of the necessary technology, including Dedicated Short Range Communications Devices (DSRCs), along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor next year.
Thirty-five miles of highway in central Ohio are about to become a showcase for smart highway technology. Next year, contractors for the Ohio Department of Transportation are expected to complete the installation of the necessary technology, including Dedicated Short Range Communications Devices (DSRCs), along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, a 35-mi. stretch of U.S. 33 highway spanning Franklin, Logan and Union Counties between Dublin, Marysville and East Liberty.
“The on-the-road infrastructure, when combined with other automotive assets such as the Transportation Research Center and its off-the-road SMART Center, firmly establishes the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor as one of the national's premier V2X proving grounds,” according to a press release from ODOT.
V2X stands for vehicle to everything and is the technology that allows vehicles to communicate with other vehicles and traffic devices. It is heralded as the key to safer, more efficient highways for everyone.
“The Smart Mobility Corridor will enable communications so we can constantly monitor how the traffic is performing on the roadway,” said ODOT's Andrew Bremer, managing director of local affairs. “During snow and ice season, pieces of data that come to us from vehicles will give us a pretty clear indication of where there is black ice or an icy patch so that we would be able to spot treat that section of roadway. It also speaks to the reliability factor. Congestion is a relative term out there. We want to improve congestion, but that means different things to different communities. We want to have that corridor perform on a consistent basis. That speaks to the service we provide to the traveling public, as well as getting shipments to and from places in a reliable time frame.”
Contractors have already installed 432 strands of fiber-optic cable, and are working to install 94 DSRCs, and more than $100 million in infrastructure investments, and automotive amenities for companies engaged in the research, development, testing and commercialization of smart mobility technologies in off-the-road and on-the-road improvements.
Contractor Michael Baker International is designing the system engineering that will identify exactly what technology ODOT needs to put in place to make the system functional. They expect to finalize a plan sometime this fall and then will go out for bids.
Work to create the Smart Mobility Corridor got underway in 2016 when the city of Marysville applied for and received a grant through the Advanced Transportation and Congestion Management Technologies Program. The grants are administered through the Federal Highway Administration and are meant for the “development of model deployment sites for large scale installation and operation of advanced transportation technologies to improve safety, efficiency, system performance and infrastructure return on investment.”
“We've been assisting the city of Marysville to implement that grant since then,” Bremer said. “U.S. 33 is unique in the sense that it goes from very rural traffic, probably 10,000 vehicles a day, to well over 45,000 vehicles a day. So it goes from rural to suburban to urban very quickly over 33 miles. We are able to test a variety of applications with a variety of traffic situations.”
With more than 65 automotive companies, the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor is the home to one of the largest concentrations of manufacturers, research and development firms and logistics companies in Ohio, if not the Midwest, according to the ODOT press release. These automotive assets have allowed the corridor to become a leader in the nation's automotive industry.
Several of those private companies will play an important role in helping ODOT launch and develop the system.
“Our goal is to outfit 1,200 vehicles in that stretch on U.S. 33,” Bremer said. “It will be voluntary, but we are relying on private contractor Honda. They have a sizeable presence on U.S. 33. They have manufacturing plants and research and development. They will be providing a portion of those onboard units in vehicles. There are a few other manufacturers that have announced they will be supporting this. Toyota will put DSRC technology in their vehicles. We are embarking on a project to retro fit cars out there with onboard units that have the DSRC units.
“The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor is a multi-jurisdictional project that has brought together a number of governmental agencies, academia and private sector partners that are dedicated to fostering the development of smart mobility technologies,” ODOT said.