The future of “connected” roadways

Connected Vehicle Wireless TechnologyWhat if your “smart car” could warn you of a weather or traffic delay on the roadway ahead and propose an alternate route? Connected cars might be making an appearance sooner than you think. Technology applications with potential benefits for roadway capacity and safety are evolving at a rapid pace.

The Tampa/Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is pursuing a USDOT grant for a pilot connected vehicle program. THEA is coordinating with HART, City of Tampa and the private sector on this project. The USDOT connected vehicle program is a multimodal initiative that aims to enable safe, wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and personal communications devices (phones). Connected vehicle wireless technology has the potential to make traveling safer, smarter, and greener. At the March board meeting the MPO approved sending THEA a letter of support for their grant application with the USDOT.

The MPO has been learning about technology that can turn video feeds from existing traffic and security cameras into data that can be used to better synchronize traffic lights. The traffic data can be used by delivery drivers to reroute around congested intersections, and allow navigation providers instant broadcast of conditions to travelers allowing them to avoid traffic congestion. The real-time information can help city planners better design intersections and efficiently widen lanes to ease traffic flow. Coordinated traffic lights mean cars don’t have to come to a complete stop, idle, and waste gas. Additionally, autonomous vehicles are growing more real by the day, this technology would also facilitate deployment of fully or partially automated vehicles.

Read more about the grant being sought to develop the Tampa Bay area automated roadway system at