Michigan DOT lays out near-term deployment steps for connected vehicle communications infrastructure

Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) proposes a framework for an infostructure plan for connected vehicle deployment

Background (Show)

Lesson Learned

Agencies are encouraged to adopt the following near-term deployment steps while meeting prioritization strategies for preparing the communication infrastructure for a connected vehicle environment.

Target locations for backhaul communications. Investment in the arterial network will be critical for backhaul of the connected vehicle data and arterial traffic signal data to the traffic operations center prior to a connected vehicle deployment. A fiber optic network is recommended for an arterial communication network to accommodate future connected vehicle data. The majority of arterial roadways do not currently have conduit, which significantly increases the cost of deploying fiber along these roadways and increases the importance of planning for this need in advance.

The following questions should be considered in an arterial traffic network master plan:
  1. How extensive of a backhaul system should be developed?
  2. What locations will provide the greatest benefit for a deployed system? (Agencies are encouraged to consider: high-volume arterial corridors, high density of traffic signals, corridors with intersection crash rates at or above the state average).
  3. Can the deployment be completed in phases to minimize high capital investments in a single project?
  4. Is there an existing Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) available to handle arterial device communications?
  5. Is it possible to integrate existing traffic signals in to a new or existing ATMS?

The following provides a roadmap for a communications network deployment building off of existing infrastructure strategically to meet these goals.
  • Priority 1: Install backhaul on metropolitan arterial trunklines crossing existing fiber-equipped freeway corridors
  • Priority 2: Continue fiber backhaul installation on major metropolitan freeway corridors
  • Priority 3: Install backhaul on metropolitan arterial trunklines parallel to equipped freeway corridors
  • Priority 4: Install backhaul to remote critical freeway and arterial curve locations

Institutionalize conduit installation during arterial/freeway construction. For many agencies, the best and least expensive opportunity to begin expanding the infostructure network is to identify (and if necessary amend) programmed reconstruction projects along freeways or arterial trunklines to include dedicated conduit for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) use, as well as fiber optic cable if there is an immediate need (i.e. existing traffic signals or ITS devices which could be integrated onto it). This advanced planning could provide a jump-start to infostructure deployment which may otherwise take many more years to plan and construct. Beyond looking at immediately programmed projects, it is critical that agencies begin to institutionalize the installation of conduit as part of the upgrade of arterial roadways. By shifting towards a routine installation, the long-term cost of installing infostructure in these corridors is greatly reduced.

Modernize signal controllers. The modernization of existing signal controllers to advanced signal controller technology capable of producing Signal Phase and Timing (SPaT) messaging is a proactive measure to prepare for a full scale connected vehicle deployment. ATMS are typically connected to the individual traffic signal locations by means of a backhaul method. However, before a backhaul method can be selected for full integration to a traffic management system, the individualized controller locations must be modernized to accept newer Internet Protocol (IP)-ready connections. These connections can either be wireless, fiber or leased communications, though given the long-term data volume anticipated, planning for fiber connections is recommended. The proactive steps of modernizing the signal controller will ensure an agency is ready for a connected vehicle deployment as well as controller integration in to various ATMS clients, especially since back-end systems will be IP-based and ATMS clients require National Transportation Communications for Intelligent Transportation System Protocol (NTCIP) compliant controllers. Additionally, space constraints should be considered regarding signal controller cabinets. The provision now of additional space at locations with significant equipment requirements can save significant cost at the time of Roadside Equipment (RSE) deployment by accounting for sufficient space for future Dedicated Short-Range Communications (DSRC) radio stacks and related power equipment. As deployment decisions begin to take hold, the revision of controller cabinet specifications and standards may be warranted to account for this additional standard equipment in the future.

Formulate a Data Management Plan. Much of the utility of connected vehicle technologies to public agencies lies not only in their function in real-time on roadways, but in use of the vast amount of data generated by these systems. In addition to backhaul communications, data management systems must include consideration of equipment, architecture and applications. There is potential for either centralized or regional data architecture, depending on application requirements and available backhaul connectivity between regions. It is generally expected that the agency having jurisdiction over a particular RSE/network gateway would have the responsibility (if so desired) of collecting data logs from vehicles and the network in general for agency use for applications.

A Data Warehouse Strategic Plan should be prepared to outline the various components (ITS subsystems) to integrate within the enterprise data warehouse and should setup an initial framework for data integration across the silos (between subsystems and business units). Once a migration plan is established from the funding and initiation of the strategic plan, the enterprise data warehouse hardware and software should be procured and set up. This would allow for a controlled scale proof-of-concept to be established and demonstrated from a use perspective with a series of dashboards, online mapping and web-based user applications.

Data security and privacy are large and distinct concerns of both the public at-large, key stakeholders and funding providers that will need to be addressed. The best long-term practices outline encryption methods such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) (with active wildcard certificates across the application-tier) on the front-end applications). Additionally, removing vehicle and consumer private data (Name, Social Security, Phone Numbers, Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN), License Plates) or minimally encrypting these key data fields will be an ongoing requirement for managing real-time data from connected vehicle programs.

Lesson Comments

No comments posted to date

Comment on this Lesson

To comment on this lesson, fill in the information below and click on submit. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field. Your name and email address, if provided, will not be posted, but are to contact you, if needed to clarify your comments.


Connected Vehicle Infostructure Plan

Published By: Michigan Department of Transportation

Lesson Contacts

Lesson Analyst:

Kathy Thompson


Average User Rating

0 ( ratings)

Rate this Lesson

(click stars to rate)

Lesson Categories

None defined

Application Areas

None defined


None defined


None defined

Focus Areas

None defined


None defined

Lesson ID: 2018-00839