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Safety Pilot Connected Vehicle Model Deployment

Advising on infrastructure needs to prepare for connected vehicles in the US

Safety Pilot Connected Vehicle Model Deployment

Part of the US Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) connected vehicle initiatives, the Safety Pilot Model Deployment, represented a critical step in validating the anticipated safety benefits of vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) technologies.  This three-year program helped to move forward standards development, applications research, and ultimately led the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to issue an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) with regards to regulating V2V technology in light vehicles.  The fleet and equipped roadways from the safety pilot continue to be used and expanded today (in a program supported by WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff) for further research and testing of connected vehicle technologies.


The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) has undertaken the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Model Deployment Project on behalf of the NHTSA. The $30 million federal contract deployed connected vehicle technologies in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The advanced technology was tested in a three-year long study involving the installation of wireless devices in approximately 3,000 vehicles to allow communication between the vehicles and the roadside and to then evaluate the effectiveness of connected vehicle technology to prevent crashes in an everyday environment.


Serving as the infrastructure team leader, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff provided planning, design, integration, and testing of all of the roadside and back-end communications elements of this project, and managed overall installation, operations, and maintenance of the system.  This included deployment of the 5.9 GHz dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) roadside units (RSU), next-generation traffic signal controllers, hardened field computers to serve as system interface modules, Ethernet switching gear, and all backhaul communications network elements.  This task was made more complex by the prototype-level of development of the RSU technology, and the required use of Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), the next generation internet protocol, which is not yet widely supported in the service provider market.  WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff worked closely with the city of Ann Arbor to configure their fiber communications network to enable dual-stacked IPv4/IPv6 communications, allowing communication from their data center directly to the field in native IPv6. 

As part of the program, WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff was responsible for developing, delivering, and maintaining a property and configuration management system custom web application and a spatially-enabled database.


WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff overcame RSU product development challenges to design and deliver the connected vehicle infrastructure under an extremely aggressive project schedule.  This system included 24 RSUs, twelve next-generation traffic signal controllers capable of broadcasting signal phase and timing information, and a backhaul communications network to facilitate data exchange and archiving. This infrastructure provided a platform to facilitate vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I)-based applications, as well as a base to collect data exchanged over the network (both V2I and V2V), and to support credential management as part of the overall security system.


  • Traffic engineering/safety analysis
  • Communications planning and design
  • System integration and testing
  • IT/networking design
  • Traffic signal operations
  • Web application development
  • Deployment program management