“Connected Vehicle” Initiatives To Gain Momentum At The Road Commission For Oakland County

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New technology represents the next generation of auto safety and traffic solutions in Oakland County.

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The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) announced that the organization has been working toward implementing high tech communication technologies that will allow roads to communicate with the vehicles driving on them. This technology, although several years from full implementation will improve safety and alleviate congestion by allowing vehicles to maintain constant communication with the roads and each other, while sharing collective data about road conditions, traffic, weather and overall speed.

“The number of cars and trucks on the roads is increasing faster than our funding and infrastructure,” said Greg Jamian, Chairman of the Road Commission of Oakland County. “Over the past twenty years, we’ve built about 3 percent of streets and roads, but have 55 percent more vehicles using them. By combining innovation and technology, the RCOC is seeking new solutions to making the driving experience safer and less congested. Engineers say that these technologies could increase the capacity of our current roads by allowing cars to drive much closer, while safely avoiding collision.”

Roads and automobiles have shared an unparalleled partnership together for over a century. The concept of a “connected vehicle” where vehicles talk to each other and to the road infrastructure system may not be in the too distant future. The RCOC began its research in this communication technology in the early 1990s, where they participated in a national test using these safety applications. The technology involved cars communicating directly with the road via infrared beacons posted on the side of the roads. Though the technology at the time was not robust enough to support the vision behind the project, the Road Commission continued its focus on this promising technology and funded the research.

Safety applications are currently being developed in collaboration with GPS systems, traffic services and weather reports. Traffic signals will be able to tell upstream motorists that traffic is heavy at the intersection ahead, while GPS services could suggest an alternate route. Other emerging technologies that the RCOC continues to study include:

  •     New Road Surface Materials – recycles composites.
  •     Dynamic Paints – glow in the dark paints that don’t require lights.
  •     Wind Powered Lights – activated from a vehicle’s motion.
  •     Wireless Electrical Vehicle Charging – inductive power transfer.
  •     Solar Energy Roads – tough solar panels that charge cars as they travel on them.
  •     Anti-icing Roads – naturally interactive deicers that prevent roads from icing.

The RCOC will play a key role in the ITS WORLD CONGRESS, the largest transportation technology conference, when it comes to Detroit in September. “We have been fortunate enough to have stable and forward-thinking management throughout our 100 year history at the Road Commission for Oakland County,” said Jamian. “We have routinely been home to “cutting-edge” techniques, equipment, practices and technologies.”

About Road Commission for Oakland County
The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) is the county-level road agency in Oakland County, Michigan and ranks as the State’s largest local road agency, managing approximately 3,000 mile of roads. We’re your local road professionals: Local people taking care of local roads and local needs. We’ve served the road needs of Oakland County for 100 years.

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Miranda Mayuiers
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