In a groundbreaking partnership, John Maddox has joined the University of Michigan Transportation Institute (UMTRI) and Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) as the director of collaborative program strategies. Maddox was formerly the associate administrator of vehicle safety research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Maddox will be based out of UMTRI’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, MI, and his job duties include identifying areas where the two transportation research organizations can effectively collaborate.
“TTI is the preeminent research organization when it comes to the roadway infrastructure side of transportation safety. And equivalently, UMTRI is the preeminent research organization for the vehicle side of that equation,” says Maddox. “As technology in the automobile industry progresses, it is important to connect vehicles to infrastructure in a way that benefits safety, mobility and the environment. The TTI/UMTRI connection is a perfect metaphor for that need to connect the vehicle to the road.”
According to Maddox, TTI will immediately begin to contribute to the automated and connected vehicle research work being conducted by UMTRI for the U.S. Department of Transportation. This safety pilot project is a 30-month program that will establish a real-world, multimodal test site in Ann Arbor for enabling wireless communications among vehicles and roadside equipment for use in generating data to enable safety applications. Passenger cars, commercial trucks and transit buses will be included that are equipped with a mix of integrated, retrofit and aftermarket vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) based safety systems, a technology that could prevent thousands of crashes.
“We are already starting to plan and theorize how TTI can contribute to the automated vehicle research work as well as the connected vehicle research work,” says Maddox. “Those two things will eventually be intertwined.”
Another area of collaboration is combining transportation data expertise. The two agencies are exploring how best to coordinate and use vehicle connectedness to get real-time data for urban planning and mobility.
“Currently we are identifying the areas that make the most sense to begin the collaboration on,” says Maddox. “But clearly connected and automated vehicles and transportation data would be prime examples of where the two institutes could interface together very well.”