Technology and Telematics Community

Emerging Challenges

As transportation operations technologies evolve and mature through very short life-cycles, the challenge of adaptation, interfacing, and maintenance emerges as a concern for both transportation managers as well as technology developers.

Advanced technologies can be expected to support traffic safety agendas and efficiently address transportation operations challenges.

As transportation operations and public safety professionals continue to interface their functions, and as they move to full communications-interoperability, advanced technologies must adapt to refined standards of interface and operations protocols.

Technology and Telematics represents a broad range of advanced technologies that in combination address the interface between drivers, the vehicle, and the roadway/roadside. These work to improve safety, efficiency, economy, and environmental harmony. As with other transportation operations technologies, telematics applications are focused on crash and incident prevention through improved communications and control systems.

Roadway telematics systems may include permanent in-pavement roadside traffic sensors to determine surface traffic, vehicle sensors to monitor vehicular traffic, and roadway sensors to measure such things as traffic flow rates, traffic flow interruptions, and special lanes to measure vehicle weight.

Telematics aid in vehicle operations as well as roadway safety. Through in-vehicle electronic sub-systems, vehicles communicate with one another as well as roadway and roadside infrastructures and vehicle-flow control devices. Drivers and transportation operations managers are better informed of real-time vehicle/vehicle and vehicle/roadway interactions. Communication between vehicles as well as vehicles and roadway devices support broader transportation system management goals.

In-vehicle telematics systems are under development for a number of applications, such as impending collision alerts and avoidance, location-based driver information services, vehicle-to-control devices communications, vehicle-vehicle communications, managing road usage, collecting road tolls and parking, tracking fleet vehicle locations, and recovering stolen vehicles.  Many heavy-duty trucks already use such technology and telematics systems which TSAG is in a unique position to promote within the Emergency Responder vehicle community.

Technology Telematics

Emerging Opportunities

Advanced technologies will play key roles in vehicle safety, including collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, and driver-alert control systems, in addition to driver comfort systems.

These systems will monitor a combination of vehicle, road, and driving parameters and assesses whether the vehicle is being driven in a controlled or uncontrolled way. The systems detect behind-the-wheel behavior, associated with a drowsy driver.

Telematics designed specifically for heavy-duty commercial vehicles are moving into new, highly effective applications. Systems that wirelessly communicate with truck braking mechanisms may, in the future, allow fleets to move in convoys that will conserve fuel and roadway space, as well as reduce or eliminate unsafe lane departures.  Some new heavy-duty vehicle technologies also enable such useful applications as continuous, wireless, vehicle inspection to assure all inter-linked safety systems are working. These systems also include troubleshooting capabilities if needed.

Other technologies help detect driver alertness. Research shows nearly 80% of road incidents are due to driver inattention within three seconds prior to a crash. In severe crashes, about 85% of drivers either did not brake at all or were late to react in braking situations. Equipping today’s vehicles with vehicle detection technology can play an instrumental role in reducing crashes and fatalities.

Lane monitoring technologies sense position within the roadway lane markings, adding crucial information on the vehicle’s movements within the lane. Systems monitor vehicle position to determine driver control of the vehicle. Lane monitoring technologies sense the position of a vehicle within a roadway lane, noting crucial information on the vehicle’s movements within and between lanes. Position-monitoring systems determine a driver’s control of the vehicle. As the vehicle may drift onto unsafe lane positions or unsafe roadway situations, drivers are alerted through audible and visual signals.

Also emerging is a myriad of advanced driver assistance systems to support drivers and reduce the burden of continuous attentiveness.  Such automated systems can do much to reduce the “94%” of crashes that can be attributed to driver error and pave the way to a “Road to Zero” crashes, deaths, and injuries.  Eventually, some operations could well become fully autonomous and eliminate the driver as the cause of the vast majority of today’s crashes.

In the aggregate, transportation technologies will unfold in a fashion that support national transportation operations goals of safety, efficiency, economy, and environmental harmony.