Incentivize participation in CV deployments through benefits such as toll discounts

Success Stories from the USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Program

Tampa,Florida,United States

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Lesson Learned

The THEA project involves installing radios and computers in over 1600 vehicles (including private cars, buses, and streetcars) and in over 40 fixed locations at downtown intersections to enable ultra-fast vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and smart phone-to-infrastructure communication. THEA’s project plans include plans for recruiting 1580 volunteer drivers who agree to have Onboard Units (OBUs) and communications equipment installed in their cars, undergo training, and participate in in the operations phase by driving in the Tampa downtown area and/or on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway’s Reversible Express Lanes (REL).

Much of the direct recruitment was done through targeted emails. THEA distributed a series of three or four emails to specific subsets of THEA customers, with messages tailored to those audiences. For example, the series of recruitment emails sent to toll tag users who already use the REL regularly emphasized the opportunity to receive a 30 percent toll rebate on their daily commute. The rebate takes effect when the equipment is installed, so there is an incentive to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. A news release with the header "Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority Seeks Volunteers to Test Connected Vehicle Technology" attracted coverage from several local TV stations as well as the Tampa Bay Times, leading to an immediate boost in signups.

Every driver must complete the online eligibility questionnaire and schedule an installation appointment. Just two months after recruitment began, more than 1,200 people had completed the online eligibility questionnaire, and 800 of them had scheduled appointments.

THEA points to the following keys to their success in recruiting participants:
  • Consistent branding, including revising the project website, with emphasis on people and a feeling of personal connection.
  • Starting with an existing base of THEA customers
  • Arranging for a toll rebate for participation as a driver on the REL
  • Identifying key players downtown and meeting with them personally.
  • Developing a seamless online process for taking the prescreening questionnaire and scheduling an installation appointment.
  • Providing a Help Desk phone number so prospective participants (and later, actual participants) can ask questions.
  • Anticipating prospective participants’ questions and addressing those questions in various online resources. For example, anticipating that a big concern would be "What are you going to install in my car?" a graphic was developed that shows the size and location of the connected vehicle equipment on a typical car.
  • Remaining active on social media throughout the recruitment phase and giving the messaging a "fun" feel.
  • Creating partnership packets for downtown stakeholders’ use, so their messaging will complement our own. For example, suggested social media content was provided so project partners could share recruitment messages via their own channels

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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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Kathy Thompson


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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: 2017-00792