When installing antennas on streetcars to support wireless connected vehicle applications, verify that radio performance is not compromised by interference from high-voltage power lines.

Success Stories from the USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Program

Tampa,Florida,United States

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

In Tampa, the project involves installing radios and computers in over 1600 vehicles and in over 40 fixed locations at downtown intersections to enable vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication. A unique feature of the Tampa project is installation and operation of collision warning applications in 10 of the historic electric streetcars that operate along Channelside Drive in Tampa’s Central Business District. The streetcars run on tracks alongside city streets, obeying the same traffic signals as other vehicular traffic. Since streetcars are heavy (32-ton) vehicles, they accelerate and move slowly, and often drivers of vehicles to the left of streetcars who wish to turn right at an intersection will attempt to turn right in front of moving streetcars. Streetcars cannot stop quickly or swerve, so collisions have sometimes resulted.

The Connected Vehicle application being implemented to mitigate and warn of this unsafe practice is called "Vehicle Turning Right in Front of Transit Vehicle". Originally envisioned for buses, THEA is adapting the application for streetcars. Global Positioning System (GPS) antennas and Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) antennas are being installed on cars and streetcars, as well as processors called Onboard Units (OBUs) and display screens. The OBUs constantly broadcast and receive Basic Safety Messages (BSMs) that contain vehicles’ location, velocity, and acceleration, among other values. When an OBU predicts a potential collision between a streetcar and an instrumented automobile, it displays a warning on the streetcar screen and the automobile screen, and emits an audible alert signal.

Four special considerations for installing the connected vehicle equipment in streetcars include:
  • Each streetcar has two screens, one at each end of the streetcar (since it can travel in either direction).
  • Wooden panels inside the streetcars had to be removed to run cables from one end to the other and to the antennas on the rooftop.
  • Since the streetcars have wooden rooftops, special metal plates are being added to provide proper grounding for the antennas.
  • The antennas are being checked carefully to ensure they can operate successfully in close proximity to the high-voltage (640 volt) power line that provides power to the streetcars.

Hardware and software operation are being tested in Tampa, and the parameters of the warning algorithms are being tuned so that warnings provided to streetcar and automobile drivers give sufficient time for appropriate reactions.

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Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program: Success Stories

Author: Glassco, Rick; James O'Hara; Barbara Staples; Kathy Thompson; and Peiwei Wang

Published By: USDOT Office of the Secretary for Research and Deployment

Source Date: 11/01/2017

URL: https://www.its.dot.gov/pilots/success_lessonslearned.htm

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Lessons From This Source

Allow for increased coordination with the Interdepartmental Radio Advisory Committee (IRAC) early on in the DSRC licensing process to help reduce what is traditionally a very lengthy process.

Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program yields program management best practices for integrating and testing large disparate systems.

Connected vehicles should rely on more than one data feed to determine accurate location and speed

Consider installing additional vehicle detection equipment if it is determined that there is not sufficient market penetration for CV traffic signal control applications to work at their full potential

Facing a gap in standards interpretation, the Tampa and New York City Connected Vehicle Pilot Sites worked together to harmonize message structure for pedestrian safety applications.

For pedestrian safety warning applications, opt to collect pedestrian location data from LIDAR sensors instead of pedestrian mobile devices that often have insufficient accuracy.

Incentivize participation in CV deployments through benefits such as toll discounts

Include technical, operations, and legal personnel in stakeholder meetings to address the requirements of the CV deployment and ensure that participants' privacy is being maintained

Incorporate standardized over-the-air update procedures to permit efficient firmware updates for connected vehicle devices.

Obtain working prototypes of CV applications from the USDOT’s Open Source Application Data Portal (OSADP) to prevent time spent doing duplicative software development

Prevent the need for channel switching (a safety hazard) by designing CV communications to include dual radios in each vehicle

Publish all CV planning documentation to serve as an example for other early deployers to follow

The Tampa Connected Vehicle Pilot Program investigates damage to roadside units (RSUs) near lightning strikes and improves transient surge immunity by verifying nearby support structures are properly grounded.

The USDOT’s three Connected Vehicle Pilots successfully demonstrate cross-site over-the-air interoperability among six participating vendors.

Use local student mechanics where possible to perform CV equipment installations to provide students with required trainee experience and to contain costs

Use on-board connected vehicle (CV) technology and SPaT / MAP infrastructure messages to prevent wrong way entries on reversible express lanes.

When installing antennas on streetcars to support wireless connected vehicle applications, verify that radio performance is not compromised by interference from high-voltage power lines.

Lesson ID: 2018-00811