Drivers, transit riders, and pedestrians in downtown Tampa may soon experience a safer, smoother trip as the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) brings innovative connected vehicle technology to the city’s central business district.
The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is excited to announce the launch of the recruitment phase of the Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot. THEA was awarded a contract with U.S. Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program to test connected vehicle technology in real-world conditions. Tampa is one of only three sites in the nation to test connected vehicle technology under this program.
By mid-2018, THEA will equip approximately 10 buses, 10 streetcars and 1,600 participants’ automobiles with wireless communication devices that can exchange traffic and safety information with other vehicles and with roadway infrastructure. Connected vehicle technology has the potential to transform the experience of the drivers, transit riders and pedestrians who traverse the city every day — preventing collisions, enhancing traffic flow, improving transit trip times, and even shrinking the Tampa Bay area’s carbon footprint by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. This technology has the potential to make downtown Tampa a safer, smarter place to walk, ride and drive.
The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot will address issues including morning backups on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway; wrong-way drivers on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway, East Twiggs Street, and North Meridian Avenue; pedestrian safety on East Twiggs Street; transit signal priority on North Marion Street, East Kennedy Boulevard, and East Jackson Street; streetcar conflicts on Channelside Drive; and traffic progression on Meridian Avenue, North Nebraska Avenue, and Florida Avenue.
The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot will test and deploy a variety of technologies aimed at improving safety, mobility and the environment in downtown Tampa’s central business district. Using innovative vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication technology, drivers, transit riders and pedestrians may experience these benefits in many ways.
Potential Safety Benefits of Connected Vehicle Technology in Tampa
Familiar automotive safety features such as airbags are designed to help people survive crashes, but connected vehicle technologies can prevent many crashes from happening in the first place. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, these technologies have the potential to prevent or reduce the impact of millions of crashes every year.
Connected vehicles may make downtown a safer place to drive by communicating wirelessly with each other and with elements of the roadway such as traffic lights and crosswalks. This real-time communication will enable connected vehicles to warn their drivers of a variety of safety hazards. For example, as morning commuters approach downtown on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway Reversible Express Lanes, they will receive a warning when cars on the road ahead have suddenly slowed down or come to a stop. Drivers of connected vehicles in certain locations will even receive an alert when a pedestrian they may not have noticed is crossing the street ahead of them.
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