Anthem, AZ — Daisy Mountain Drive is known amongst locals for its scenic desert views and vibrant neighborhood businesses. But, it is also home to a state-of-the-art field lab for testing new transportation technology systems for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadway communication systems. Maricopa County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) SMARTDrive Test Bed was selected to be part of the United States Domestic Scan Program’s visit to Arizona to study advances in Integrated Corridor Management.
The U.S. Domestic Scan Team is an elite group of professional transportation leaders from across the country pulled together by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to facilitate information sharing about the latest in innovations in traffic management technologies and research.
“Yesterday’s Scan Team visit to our Anthem Test Bed demonstrates how SMARTDrive has put MCDOT in the national forefront of the SMART signal system technology transformation,” said Faisal Saleem, MCDOT Intelligent Transportation Systems Branch Manager. “MCDOT’s testing is leading research in emerging technologies to fine tune traffic control systems that, in the very near future, will link all drivers to both their surroundings and other vehicles on the road. This means fewer crashes and more saved lives.”
With this new system, traffic control signals will have two-way communication with emergency vehicles, and the vehicles will be in communication with one another. When one or more emergency response vehicles are approaching an intersection from different directions, the SMARTDrive Intelligent Traffic Signal System will selectively prioritize and notify all approaching emergency vehicles which vehicle has the right-of-way, significantly improving both intersection operation and safety. The MCDOT SMARTDrive Program is a collaborative partnership between Maricopa County and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) through the Arizona Connected Vehicle Program.
The MCDOT SMARTDrive Test Bed has garnered national attention since its launch in spring 2012. MCDOT ITS engineers and University of Arizona researchers are on the national forefront developing a vehicle prioritization system that will make signalized intersections safer nationwide for emergency responders and the general public, according to Saleem and UA Systems and Industrial Engineering researcher, Dr. Larry Head.
The MCDOT SMARTDrive field test corridor is helping to lay the groundwork toward the future deployment of smart vehicle systems throughout the country. “The installation of vehicle prioritization systems for emergency vehicles at the intersections will also provide core infrastructure for the path to national deployment. Over the next decade, as the nation’s public and private vehicle fleets are renewed and equipped with this technology, this system will lead the way in making intersections significantly safer,” said Saleem.
MCDOT’s SMARTDrive Test Bed in Anthem, along with CALTRANS test site in California, were both selected to serve as national test sites for the Intelligent Traffic Signal System applications funded by the US Department of Transportation and the Cooperative Transportation Systems Pooled Fund Study (CTS PFS). These sites collect and exchange data to develop and design a test plan to implement system and operational requirements for the futuristic Intelligent Traffic Signal System.
Faisal Saleem, MCDOT ITS Branch Manager, speaks to visiting US Domestic Scan Program Group during MCDOT SMARTDrive demonstration in Anthem on Tuesday.