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The Future of Intelligent Transportation Systems is in Michigan

By Mr. Richard Beaubien P.E., PTOE posted 09-19-2014 08:13 PM


Several important exhibitors at the ITS World Congress in Detroit this year are ensuring a lasting legacy for the ITS Industry for years to come.  The University of Michigan announced funding partners in its Mobility Transformation Center, a major public private research and development initiative that aims to revolutionize the movement of people and goods in society.   Spanning such sectors as auto manufacturing, suppliers, ITS, insurance, telecommunications, data management, and mobility services, the Transformation Centers Leadership Circle will joint with government and academic partners to lay the foundation for a commercially viable system of connected and automated vehicles. 

Working with the Michigan Department of Transportation, U-M researchers are currently constructing a unique, simulated urban environment for testing connected and automated mobility systems.  The Mobility Transformation Facility is a central element of the U-M’s Mobility Transformation Center, a joint project with industry and government to develop and implement an advanced system of connected and automated vehicles for moving people and freight on the streets of southeastern Michigan by 2021.

Located on 30 acres of U-M’s North Campus Research Complex, the off-roadway test site will simulate the complexities of a dynamic, urban environment.  It will include a network of approximately four lane-miles of concrete and asphalt roads with intersections, traffic signs and signals, sidewalks, roundabouts, simulated buildings, streetlights, and obstacles such as construction barriers.  Current plans call for the facility to be completed by the spring of 2015 with a construction cost of $6.5 million.  Funding will be provided by U-M’s College of Engineering, the Office of Research, the Office of the Provost, and a grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Connected vehicles, commonly known as V2V, have been tested extensively by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute in the USDOT’s Safety Pilot Model Deployment in Ann Arbor.  The results have been used to support the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rule Making announcement by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  With the help of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Mobility Transformation Center is building on this two-year deployment of 3000 vehicles to create a major V2V deployment of 9000 vehicles in Ann Arbor.  The Center is also working with the Michigan Department of Transportation and industrial partners to provide sufficient V2I infrastructure in southeast Michigan to support a deployment of 20,000 connected vehicles.