The Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) highlighted a Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) advanced technology project as an accomplishment in its Biennial Performance Report (BPR) published Nov. 15. DIR’s stated mission is to “serve Texas government by leading the state’s technology strategy, protecting state technology infrastructure, and offering innovative and cost-effective solutions for all levels of government.”
The Smart Intersection project highlighted in the report developed and pilot-tested a system in 2018 at The Texas A&M University System’s RELLIS Campus that tracks buses approaching intersections. If the bus is turning at the intersection, pedestrians and bicyclists are given visual and audio warnings alerting them. The buses communicate with the intersection’s traffic signal equipment using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) radio, a wireless communication technology that provides secure, high-speed signals directly between vehicles and roadway infrastructure, without the need for cellular infrastructure.
“Intersections are busy places, with passenger vehicles, trucks, buses, pedestrians and bicyclists all sharing space,” TTI Executive Associate Director Katie Turnbull says. Turnbull served as TTI’s principal investigator on the project. “Transit stops are typically located near intersections, with boarding and alighting bus passengers joining other pedestrians crossing the streets. Bicyclists may also be transit riders, getting their bikes on and off buses, or traveling through intersections.”
TTI designed, developed, and pilot-tested the Smart Intersection concept under Project 0-6875, Automated Vehicle/Connected Vehicle (AV/CV) Test Bed to Improve Transit, Bicycle, and Pedestrian Safety, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Contributions from Econolite, TxDOT, the Brazos Transit District and TTI made the pilot-test possible.
In its notification regarding inclusion of the project in its report, DIR praised TTI for “effectively using emerging technologies [to enhance] safety by helping to reduce crashes involving pedestrians and bicyclists at signalized intersections.”
Currently in Phase 3, the project continues in a real-world deployment location at the intersection of George Bush Drive and Penberthy Boulevard on the Texas A&M University campus. Partners assisting with Phase 3 include TxDOT, Texas A&M University Transportation Services and the City of College Station.
“TTI’s Smart Intersection is a great example of how using emerging technologies can positively impact the daily lives of Texans,” says John Hoffman, Texas DIR’s deputy chief information officer. “We are including the project in DIR’s 2020 Biennial Performance Report (BPR) to show how transitioning to the next generation of innovative solutions is aligned with goals in the 2020-2024 State Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management.”
The Texas Legislature requires DIR to submit a report every two years to document progress toward the goals of the 2020–2024 State Strategic Plan for Information Resources Management. The plan “identifies technology goals for state government over the next five years and guides agencies as they develop their agency strategic plans.”
“It is an honor to be recognized by the DIR for this project,” notes Turnbull. “It highlights the importance of research partnerships involving TTI researchers, state and local agencies, and industry to improve safety for all road users.”