Connected and Automated Vehicles
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Until sufficient national CAV standards are set, or a clearer consensus around the usage of CAV technologies form, the CTDOT will focus its CAV technology and research investments towards conducting and supporting limited CAV field-testing and small pilot projects in Connecticut. These activities will allow the CTDOT to gain hands-on experience with new technologies and to work and learn from others to solve transportation challenges, as well as evaluate CAV system benefits without making major technology commitments associated with these systems.

Participating in CAV pilots and demonstration projects will also position the CTDOT to provide insight and guidance to national committees as the formation of related standards are being discussed. The demonstration and research efforts will be in systems and functions that are of direct importance and have immediate value to the CTDOT, the state, and the regional and national transportation system.

Outlined below are the CAV projects that the CTDOT is currently advancing in Connecticut.

Connected and Automated Vehicles CTFasTrak

Test and Deploy CAV Transit Technologies on CTfastrak

The CTDOT owns and operates an ideal facility for piloting and deploying CAV transit technologies – the CTfastrak BRT corridor. This facility is a nine-mile, bus-only, fixed guideway in central Connecticut that connects four municipalities, including the state’s capital city of Hartford, West Hartford, Newington and New Britain. Success with CAV transit technologies along the CTfastrak BRT corridor has the potential to advance the marketability of near-term CAV transit technologies, while both improving service and creating additional efficiencies. The CTDOT will continue to prioritize CTfastrak and corresponding facilities for testing and deploying CAV transit technologies.

Over the next few years the CTDOT and its assembled team, including the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE), New Flyer Industries, Robotic Research, Inc., University of Connecticut, and the Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG), will be working collaboratively to advance a first in the nation, state-of-the-art, pilot project that tests the performance and operation of full size, automated, and battery electric buses (BEB) in revenue service on the CTfastrak BRT.

This demonstration project will deploy three 40’ New Flyer Excelsior Charge BEB equipped with increasing levels of driving automation capable of up to high automation (SAE level 4). Automated driving capabilities demonstrated will include steering, braking, lane keeping, pedestrian and object detection, precision docking at CTfastrak station platforms and platooning of buses all aimed to improve service and safety for workforce and riders.

The CTDOT is advancing the CTfastrak CAV bus project to:

  • Safely test various capabilities of driving automation levels on full size buses
  • Enhance safety and efficiency for boarding and alighting passengers at stations with automated precision docking
  • Evaluate the potential for platooning in BRT service
  • Improve safety and efficiency at CTfastrak intersections by upgrading various traffic signal equipment and installing new V2I roadside equipment
  • Demonstrate performance of electric transit fleet
  • Accelerate CAV technologies for transit
  • Generate and share data to benefit transportation agencies and improve other CAV deployments

Project Schedule:

  • Design & Build: 2021/2022
  • Testing Off-Site: 2022
  • Testing on CTfastrak: Late 2022
  • Begin Operations on CTfastrak: 2023

Connected and Automated Vehicles Berlin Turnpike

Test and Deploy CV and Other Traffic Signal Technologies on Berlin Turnpike

The Berlin Turnpike, a major arterial highway in central Connecticut (where the CTDOT’s headquarters building is located) provides an ideal live roadway testbed for the CTDOT to begin to evaluate the performance, operation, and effectiveness of V2I and other emerging ITS traffic signal technologies. This state-owned highway has steady high volumes of routine traffic, is a popular destination for shopping with several national and regional retail stores and serves as a main diversionary route for traffic incidents on nearby Interstate 91.

Over the next few years, the CTDOT will be completing two traffic projects along a 10-mile segment of the non- expressway portion of U.S. Route 5/15 (Berlin Turnpike) to replace and upgrade 28 signalized intersections near the CTDOT’s headquarters. These projects will serve as early adopters for testing and deploying emerging traffic signal technologies, including V2I applications, traffic signal priority, adaptive signal control and automatic traffic signal performance measures (ATSPM). Each of these applications have the potential for improving safety and mobility, enhancing the CTDOT’s traffic signal operations and reducing congestion.

Both projects are part of the CTDOT’s official entry to the SPaT Challenge, which is a program put together by AASHTO and the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE) to encourage state and local public sector transportation IOOs to cooperate together to achieve deployment of V2I infrastructure with SPaT and MAP broadcasts in at least one corridor or network (approximately 20 signalized intersections) in each state. The SPaT Challenge was set up as an early way for IOOs to encourage and initiate broader V2I deployment as well as demonstrate interest and commitment to the OEMs and private industry towards building a more connected vehicle future.

Both of the projects that the CTDOT will submit as part of the SPaT Challenge will require installation of advanced traffic signal controllers, new non-intrusive traffic detection equipment (cameras, radar, etc.), new backhaul communications (fiber) and include the implementation of adaptive signal control technology and automated traffic signal performance measures software. As part of the traffic signal replacements and upgrades, the CTDOT will install V2I roadside units (RSU) at each intersection and equip various state-owned fleet vehicles with corresponding V2I on-board units (OBU) to test and deploy different V2I applications (e.g. SPaT, signal priority, etc.). Once operational, the CTDOT looks to apply lessons learned from these projects as a template for other traffic signal replacement projects moving forward, where applicable.

Project Schedule:

  • Design: 2020/2021
  • Construction: 2021/2022
  • Begin Operations: 2022/2023