Advanced transportation technologies, while disruptive, offer both opportunities and challenges. These technologies have resulted in new travel modes such as micro-mobility and ride-hailing services and are soon expected to bring even more advanced options, such as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs).
Penetration of CAVs and other new mobility modes into North Carolina’s transportation landscape will be affected by NCDOT’s involvement and support, because of the agency’s extensive responsibilities in ensuring safe and effective transportation. With the Transportation Center of Excellence pilot, NCDOT is seeking to leverage multi-disciplinary skills and knowledge across multiple universities towards a long-term view and cutting-edge approaches in transportation research and implementation. The UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC) proposes to lead a Center of Excellence for the Advanced Transportation Technologies (CEATT) pilot for the NCDOT which will help NCDOT achieve its goals.
For this proposal, UNC HSRC has assembled a strong consortium of partners encompassing diversity in disciplines and representation. The team includes UNC Charlotte, NC A&T University, NC Central University, Appalachian State University, and UNC Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning. Together with our partners, UNC HSRC is dedicated to help NDCOT achieve their mission of Connecting people, products and places safely and efficiently with customer focus, accountability and environmental sensitivity to enhance the economy and vitality of North Carolina. The proposed partners are a multidisciplinary group of traffic safety research professionals, human factors experts, planners, public administrators, educators, computer scientists/systems engineers, and civil and electrical engineers who share a collaborative mindset.
The partners draw upon extensive national transportation experience to be leveraged to benefit North Carolina, including extensive professional networks established through three University Transportation Centers including the Collaborative Sciences Center for Road Safety (CSCRS), Center for Advanced Transportation Mobility (CATM), and Mineta Consortium for Transportation Mobility (MCTM). NCCU, with extensive experience working with people with disabilities, and Appalachian State University, with its proximity and focus on rural and mountain transportation issues, further round out the consortium diverse portfolio of research.
Lead Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC)
Peer Institutions: Appalachian State University; North Carolina Central University; North Carolina A&T State University; University of North Carolina Charlotte
*First institution listed on each project is the lead for that specific effort
CEATT proposes five seed projects with two key themes: Using and improving existing infrastructure to advance safety and mobility and help North Carolina communities, particularly vulnerable road users, and using CAVs to advance mobility, with a focus on economic impact and data.
- Project #1: Impacts of CAV-ready infrastructure on Vulnerable Road Users (VRUs): Guidance for North Carolina’s Local and State Transportation Agencies, involves the development of guidance for implementation of CAV infrastructure with a focus on safe interactions with VRUs.
- UNC-CH*: T. Combs, N. McDonald; ASU*: E. Shay; UNC-CH HSRC: M. Clamann.
- Project #2: IOT Solutions for Near Horizon Challenges in Smart City Pedestrian Travel, connects to the first project and involves development of dynamic traffic control tools and information technology to facilitate CAV deployment at intersections while promoting safety and accessibility for other roadway users.
- NCCU*: S. Tikkun, W. Wiener; UNCC: S. Pulugurtha.
- Project #3, Operational and Economic Impacts of CAVs, involves the development of long-range planning models for NCDOT and other public agencies to assess the safety and economic impacts of CAV infrastructure investment.
- Project #4, Intelligent Data Exploration & Analysis for New & Existing Transportation Technology involves the integration of CAV fleet data with NCDOT data infrastructures to create a publicly beneficial travel time visualization and information system.
- NC A&T*: H. Park, M. McBride; UNC-CH: N. McDonald.
- Project #5, Plan for Advanced Technology Data Readiness, involves identification of CAV data needed by public agencies and maps such data to agency use cases for an NCDOT-specific data readiness framework.
- UNC HSRC*: M. Clamann, R. Radwan, R. Srinivasan, N. Lefler, T. Saleem; ASU: E. Shay, R. Crepeau; UNCC: S. Pulugurtha.
These projects will engage NCDOT and other stakeholders and produce results that will be implementable, i.e. strategically focused and accessible to transportation decision-makers. Each of these projects also includes a workforce development component by exposing students to advanced technologies and opportunities to engage with stakeholders. A strength of this proposal is the ability of several partner universities to integrate workforce development efforts with pre-existing programs. Ultimately, these collective efforts will produce enduring Center of Excellence in Advanced Transportation Technologies (CEATT) partnership and structured collaboration opportunities that will benefit the state for many years beyond the Center of Excellence program.