NEW -UTC- PROJECTS

Performance Measurements of Transportation Systems based on Fine-Grained Data Collected by AVI and AVL Systems

ContentPI: Dr. Haitham Al-Deek Sponsored by the UTC Federal Grant Start Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012 End Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Contractual Amount: $100,000 Project Scope: The University of Central Florida’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in joint cooperation with the City of Orlando proposes to perform research on the Lynx Bus system involving Applications of Traffic Signal Priority Technology for Transit Service. This document explains details of this collaborative effort between the University of Central Florida and Florida International University on the proposed project titled “Performance Measurements of Transportation Systems based on Fine-Grained Data Collected by AVI and AVL Systems,” to be submitted by FIU to the Georgia Institute of Technology University Transportation Center (hence referred to as Georgia Tech UTC). This section deals with the second objective of the FIU and UCF proposal “Utilization of transit vehicle AVL data to estimate the performance measures of transit systems.

Automated Data Collection for Origin/Destination Studies of Freight Movement

PI: Dr. Amr Oloufa Sponsored by the UTC Federal Grant Start Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012 End Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Contractual Amount: $99,300Project Scope: The collection of reliable Origin/Destination data for freight has profound consequences for a large range of applications in both planning and operations. Indeed, in both research and practice, a large number of applications rely heavily on such data. The challenge over the years has been the tremendous expense in both time and cost related to the collection of such data. This is true for both regular and freight traffic where O/D data collection relied heavily either on manual counts and interviews, or on expensive ITS technologies that required excessive MOT and lane stoppages for installation. In an exploratory project which was funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (and recently completed), the principal investigator and his research team developed a novel approach for tracking trucks using their license plate numbers. In that project, the researchers selected two gantries on Hwy 528 near Orlando, FL. Both gantries were fitted with cameras aimed at capturing truck license plates. That project which was completed recently clearly demonstrated the feasibility of the approach however more work needs to be done before a system can be adopted for wide application. The remaining challenges are the following: 1. Due to the lack of available 110V power, the system could only be tested for a few hours at a time. For the same reason, very limited amount of data was collected. 2. Most freeway gantries do not have available power. The ones that do may have “switched” systems that only operate at night. Most of those do not run on 110V requiring costly transformers. Also wiring each gantry for 110V power is relatively expensive. 3. Power consumption of cameras was not a design issue as the assumption was that power is readily available and cameras require relatively low wattage. 4. The system used an expensive triggering device. Due to cost considerations, a single trigger was used for all lanes. This means that only one lane can be triggered at any given time. While this worked fine for Phase I, clearly this approach is limited in busy corridors where multiple trucks can be using several lanes simultaneously. 5. Relatively long time needed for system installation as wiring the system was time-consuming. In the proposed project, we propose to address these limitations and expand the field test to three gantries covering a total of 9 lanes (Gantry locations will be selected in consultation with FDOT). Data will be collected for a full year to account for seasonal changes, which will enable the research team to fully evaluate the approach on a large data set.

Impact and Feasibility Study of Solutions for Doubling Heavy Vehicles

Project Scope: Our first objective of this research is to quantify the effect of meeting increasing freight demands with heavier trucks to reduce the growth in the number of trucks on the road. Specifically, the effect of heavier trucks on bridge infrastructure will be quantified with regard the force effects experienced by the bridges and the effect on the durability and longevity of bridges. The Second objective is to compare the effect of heavier trucks to the effect of doubling the number of heavy vehicles under the present legal weight restrictions. The primary goal of both tasks is to determine if allowing an increase in truck weight provides better or worse bridge durability and longevity when compared to increasing the number of trucks to meet freight demands bridges having a dramatic impact on all themes of the Center: safety, state-of-good-repair, and economic competiveness. Finally specific configurations of heavy trucks, such as additional axles or long-combinations, will also be investigated to minimize the effect of a weight increase and reduce the impact to bridges.

Factors Influencing Visual Search in Complex Driving Environments

PI: Dr. Peter Hancock Sponsored by the UTC Federal Grant Start Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012 End Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Contractual Amount: $51,000 Project Scope: Research on distracted driving has primarily focused on in-vehicle distractions including texting and cell phone use, “infotainment” navigation and audio systems, and other in-vehicle devices. Human factors engineering, which attempts to account for the capabilities and limitations of drivers, promises to provide ways to improve safety by designing more forgiving systems and environments. Successful human factors engineering requires a multi-disciplinary understanding of human perception, cognition, and the associated response factors. By understanding the driver’s perception of the environment, engineers can make informed design changes to operational environments (such as temporary workzone areas and approaches) and reduce the potential for driver confusion, thus improving safety for both workers and drivers. The central focus of our research is to identify changes in the visual search patterns of drivers as environments become more complex. Specifically, we look to evaluate driver’s responses patterns as they approach a temporary workzone area in which traffic flow has been altered from the ‘normal’ pattern. The results obtained from such study would allow engineering guidelines to be developed, improved and refined so that the use of traffic control devices can enhance the safe passage of vehicles through these proven dangerous locations.

Integrating Safety in Developing a Variable Speed Limit System

PI: Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty Sponsored by the UTC Federal Grant Start Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012 End Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Contractual Amount: $50,000 Project Scope: This project will develop an algorithm for Variable speed limits on freeways. Real-time crash models will be estimated and integrated with the variable speed limits algorithm. This system should be implemented as part of active traffic management strategy.

Efficient Utilization Of The Existing Its System And The Viability Of A Proactive Traffic Management System For The Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority System

PI: Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty Sponsored by the UTC Federal Grant Start Date: Sunday, January 1, 2012 End Date: Friday, January 31, 2014 Contractual Amount: $110,000 Project Scope: This project presents a framework to incorporate safety and operation into the existing ATIS on expressway network in Orlando. The proposed framework is considered as a cost effective added value to the expressway authority. By implementing the proposed system, OOCEA would be recognized as a pioneer in proactive traffic management. OOCEA is already implementing innovative ITS solutions, e.g., queue detection and warning at the entrance to the I-4 interchange.

Validation And Application Of Highway Safety Manual (Part D) In Florida

PI: Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty Sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation Start Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012 End Date: Monday, June 30, 2014 Contractual Amount: $218,000 Project Scope: The objective of this research would be to reach specific conclusions about how to implement the HSM Part D in Florida. Massive data collection of safety data will be needed. Data for before and after treatments will collected and crash modification factors calculated and compared to the HSM, and CMF values validated or re-calibrated.

Two Level Approach To Safety Planning Incorporating The Highway Safety Manual (HSM) Network Screening

PI: Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty Sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation Start Date: Thursday, June 7, 2012 End Date: Monday, June 30, 2014 Contractual Amount: $198,000 Project Scope: This research would provide more efficient approach to identifying high risk locations in the district or state, and therefore the ability to direct resources to safety treatments more effectively, with a clear impact on safety. It also combines the important issue of transportation safety planning and conscious planning with network screening methods developed in the HSM Part B. In addition to Florida DOT’s Safety office, Systems planning and Environmental Management offices would have a stake in this research. All district planning, MPOs and counties would use the two levels screening results developed in this project. Extensive literature review using TRIS and other sources shows a gap in the already developed safety planning (TSP) models. In addition there is a shortcoming in some aspects such as Pedestrian safety for example which is a key in Florida, Georgia and Alabama, among other states. Also safety in Environmental Justice areas is not addressed. In addition, the HSM has been published for less than a year, so research pertaining to Part B is still in its infancy. To our knowledge this two-level approach of integrating TSP and HSM Part B has not been addressed in any study.

Dynamic Flashing Yellow Arrow (FYA) - A Study on Variable Left Turn Mode Operational and Safety Impacts

PI: Dr. Essam Radwan Sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation Start Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012 End Date: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 Contractual Amount: $200,000 Project Scope: There is a need to develop an INTERACTIVE and EFFICIENT framework to serve as a decision support system for the evaluation of left turn phasing alternative base on intersection conditions. This framework will allow (1) an interactive evaluation of left turn phasing and ultimately recommend phasing mode by time-of-day (2) Traffic Management Center (TMC) data can be fed into the decision support system and intersections requiring attention/modification of left turn mode will be flagged.

Automated Data Collection for Origin/Destination Studies of Freight Movement

PI: Dr. Amr Oloufa Sponsored by the Florida Department of Transportation Start Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 End Date: Monday, June 30, 2014S Contractual Amount: $150,000 Project Scope: The collection of reliable Origin/Destination data for freight has profound consequences for a large range of applications in both planning and operations. Indeed, in both research and practice, a large number of applications rely heavily on such data. The challenge over the years has been the tremendous expense in both time and cost related to the collection of such data. This is true for both regular and freight traffic where O/D data collection relied heavily either on manual counts and interviews, or on expensive ITS technologies that required excessive MOT and lane stoppages for installation. In an exploratory project which was funded by the Florida Department of Transportation (and recently completed), the principal investigator and his research team developed a novel approach for tracking trucks using their license plate numbers. In that project, the researchers selected two gantries on Hwy 528 near Orlando, FL. Both gantries were fitted with cameras aimed at capturing truck license plates. That project which was completed recently clearly demonstrated the feasibility of the approach however more work needs to be done before a system can be adopted for wide application. The remaining challenges are the following: 1. Due to the lack of available 110V power, the system could only be tested for a few hours at a time. For the same reason, very limited amount of data was collected. 2. Most freeway gantries do not have available power. The ones that do may have “switched” systems that only operate at night. Most of those do not run on 110V requiring costly transformers. Also wiring each gantry for 110V power is relatively expensive. 3. Power consumption of cameras was not a design issue as the assumption was that power is readily available and cameras require relatively low wattage. 4. The system used an expensive triggering device. Due to cost considerations, a single trigger was used for all lanes. This means that only one lane can be triggered at any given time. While this worked fine for Phase I, clearly this approach is limited in busy corridors where multiple trucks can be using several lanes simultaneously. 5. Relatively long time needed for system installation as wiring the system was time-consuming. In the proposed project, we propose to address these limitations and expand the field test to three gantries covering a total of 9 lanes (Gantry locations will be selected in consultation with FDOT). Data will be collected for a full year to account for seasonal changes, which will enable the research team to fully evaluate the approach on a large data set.

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