As one of three initial locations selected nationally by the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) has been working since 2018 to deploy and pilot Connected Vehicle (CV) applications to demonstrate safety and mobility benefits of the technology in and around downtown Tampa.
In late 2020, the THEA CV Pilot took an exciting next step in progressing the technology from a pilot toward more mainstreamed deployment. The current phase of the THEA CV Pilot is building on the project’s existing deployment of Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) technology by deploying Roadside Units (RSUs) with dual-mode DSRC and Cellular Vehicle to Everything (C-V2X) capabilities. In addition, the project includes the field deployment of testing equipment to generate DSRC, C-V2X, Wi-Fi, and other radio signals. The functionality of these devices, combined with the dual-mode RSUs and the pilot's existing and expanding CV On Board Unit (OBUs) deployment are being implemented to enable radio spectrum interference and channel capacity testing in a live, real-world operating environment. The testing will be performed in collaboration with ongoing USDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Joint Program Office (JPO) research and is facilitating a more thorough understanding of the impacts of a joint CV technology environment that is anticipated with the expected finalization of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCCs) changes to the spectrum allocation in the transportation "safety band".
Another key element of the current phase of the THEA CV Pilot phase 4 expansion involves the integration of several prominent automobile Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The THEA team recognizes that more universal adoption and implementation of CV technology will require auto companies to offer or include CV capabilities in their vehicles. For this reason, Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota are now members of the THEA CV Pilot team. The three companies are deploying OEM CV OBUs in their respective customer's privately-owned vehicles. New performance measures are being developed for OEM vehicle data that is received by RSUs. This data offers new opportunities that were not possible during the THEA CV Pilot due to the utilization of aftermarket OBUs. As an example, the OEM OBUs are being integrated in the vehicle’s Controller Access Network (CAN) bus. Access to the CAN bus will provide data in the Basic Safety Message (BSM) Part II (e.g., Vehicle Status and Vehicle Safety Extensions data frames) for analysis of events and activations of vehicle- based systems such as antilock brakes (ABS) and wiper status. Capturing and analyzing this data is beneficial to THEA, USDOT and other public agencies as well as the research community because it translates directly to enhancing their ability to provide safety information to motorists, particularly as it relates to incident and weather conditions.