Office of Operations
21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies


Who should read this primer?

The intended audience for this primer includes:

  • Transportation operations professionals who manage components of a corridor and who find themselves under increasing pressure to do more with less in the face of static budgets, increased demand for transportation services and growing customer expectations.
  • Facility operators who are aware that rapid advances in technology mean more opportunities to operate their facilities better—and those who see connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) as a tremendous opportunity to enhance, if not completely reshape, current approaches to corridor management.
  • Practitioners who agree that CAV-enabled integrated corridor management (ICM) strategies depend equally on building relationships and deploying technologies, and that new partners in the CAV community must be at the table to meet the challenges of integrating CAV into ICM.

The greatest concentration of a transportation system's typical operational challenges—congestion, accidents, lack of reliability, and pollution—have a propensity for occurring along critical corridors that link residential areas, business districts, and entertainment and shopping venues. Integrated corridor management (ICM), defined as a set of policies and procedures for coordinating transportation operations in order to improve travel management, is a key strategy for addressing these challenges. ICM enables infrastructure operators to optimize their available space by directing travelers to underused or more reliable capacity in a transportation corridor. These strategies may include encouraging shifts in users' trip departure times, routes, or modal choices. Other strategies may involve dynamically adjusting capacity by changing metering rates at entrance ramps or adjusting signal timings to accommodate fluctuating demand. In an ICM corridor, travelers can even shift their mode of travel during their trip in response to changing conditions.

The practice of ICM is about more than operations; it involves constant analysis, modeling, and even simulation and testing in an effort to stay abreast of the latest means and methods to improve performance. Today, this includes connected and automated vehicles (CAV). CAV promises exciting ways for the ICM community to improve the safety, mobility, environmental performance, and organizational efficiency on major travel corridors. This document provides a basic background on CAV to the ICM community and provides guidance about the institutional, operational, and technical integration of CAV into the ICM paradigm.

The vision of ICM is that transportation networks will realize significant improvements in the efficient movement of people and goods through institutional collaboration and aggressive, proactive integration of existing infrastructure along major corridors. Through an ICM approach, transportation professionals manage the corridor as a multimodal system and make operational decisions for the benefit of the corridor as a whole.1 Just as ICM represented an innovative approach to transportation when it began in 2006, CAV similarly offers unprecedented opportunities to integrate new thinking, new methods, and new technologies into ICM. This primer examines the impacts of CAV on the transportation system and suggests ways this technology can be incorporated into an ICM approach. It explores opportunities to effectively integrate CAV institutionally, operationally, and technically, both by leveraging existing platforms and considering options for coordination between ICM and CAV stakeholders. Lastly, although integrating CAV and ICM holds great promise for more efficient operations on both ends, it is not without challenges. This document explores these challenges and how they can be overcome.


The Integrated Corridor Management Research Initiative

The USDOT formally began its ICM research initiative in 2006 to explore and develop ICM concepts and approaches and to advance the deployment of ICM systems throughout the country. Initially, eight pioneer sites were selected to develop concepts of operations (ConOps) and system requirements for ICM on a congested corridor in their region. Three of these sites went on to conduct analysis, modeling, and simulation (AMS) for potential ICM response strategies on their corridor. In the final stage, two sites – the US-75 Corridor in Dallas, Texas, and the Interstate-15 (I-15) corridor in San Diego, California – were selected to design, deploy, and demonstrate their ICM systems.

The Dallas and San Diego demonstrations "went live" in the Spring of 2013. Each demonstration has two phases: 1) design and deployment, and 2) operations and maintenance. Both sites chose to develop a decision support system (DSS) as a technical tool to facilitate the application of institutional agreements and operational approaches that corridor stakeholders agreed to over a rigorous planning and design process.

In 2015, 13 other regional corridors were awarded grants to develop pre-implementation ICM foundations. Although the demonstration sites provide valuable insights into the necessary components of building an ICM system, they do not represent the only way to implement ICM. There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to ICM, since the circumstances of a particular corridor will vary based on traffic patterns, agency dynamics, available assets, and a host of other factors. Thus, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is committed to raising awareness for ICM through their knowledge and technology transfer program, which advances the implementation and integration of ICM with other concepts.

Connected and Automated Vehicles

Connected and Automated Vehicle Applications

  1. Traffic Safety – In-vehicle traffic hazard warnings, intelligent speed adaptation (automated cruise control and cooperative cruise control), lane departure warning, automatic braking, e-call services.
  2. Traffic Efficiency – Travel planning, traffic management, event and incident notifications and re-routing, traffic alerts, eco-driving.
  3. Vehicle Interaction – Remote diagnostics and software updates, service calls, charging support for electric/hydrogen vehicles.
  4. Fees & Charges – Road usage charging, usage based auto insurance, congestion management fees and access control.
  5. Infotainment – In-car entertainment, personal information management, location-based services (advertisements and points of interest).

Forms of connected and automated vehicles are here now: automated driving features are seen in entry-level vehicles, and Google's Self Driving Car Project has logged 1.5 million miles. But to some degree, the CAV arrived when General Motors first offered OnStar in its 1997 Cadillac branded-vehicles. CAV was also evident in 2008, the first time drivers used smartphones to download Waze, a crowd-sourced smartphone traffic app that infers real-time travel conditions. While the pace of CAV advancement makes a static chart quickly outdated, there is general consensus on the four main stages of the concept that connects them all, called "connected mobility," and all of them overlap. The stages of connected mobility, or levels of autonomy, are explained below to illustrate, in a very simple way, a rough timeline of CAV and connected mobility:

  1. Connected Drivers are defined as drivers who "carry in" their communications technology. This concept came to be when smartphones gained a significant market share (around 2008) and drivers began to use new crowd-sourced traffic applications, or "apps," such as Waze ( to help navigate.
  2. Connected Vehicles technically arrived in 1997 with the advent of General Motor's embedded Global Positioning System (GPS) and cellular-based OnStar solution.2 Next came satellite and internet connectivity, including embedded cellular, for the purposes of infotainment, streaming music and concierge services such as Ford Sync, as well as wirelessly transmitted updates for vehicle software. These are not considered to be true "connected vehicles" by those in the transportation operations community because of the inability of such vehicles to "cooperate" with others to provide applications in vehicle and pedestrian safety, emissions management, and traffic management.
  3. Automated Vehicles, the penultimate step in connected mobility, are vehicles with computers that replace the human driver in some aspect of vehicle operation and control. In the context of this primer, the related application is autonomous (or adaptive) cruise control, where the vehicle automatically speeds up, slows down, or stops in response to other vehicle movements in the traffic stream. The first examples of this technology appeared in in luxury vehicle brands such as Jaguar and Mercedes Benz in the late 1990s; since then, automation has moved from luxury vehicles to entry level cars like the 2016 Honda Civic, which offers its Lane Keeping Assist System and adaptive cruise control.
  4. Autonomous Vehicles are the final frontier of connected mobility and incorporate connectivity and/or automation to allow vehicles to operate anywhere with no human assistance whatsoever. Some manufacturers even envision vehicles without steering wheels or gas and brake pedals. There are three general autonomous vehicles types:
    1) Those that operate autonomously—meaning they do not have two-way communication with any other vehicle or road side equipment (RSE).
    2) Those that operate cooperatively and "talk" only with other similarly equipped vehicles.
    3) Those using a combination of 1 and 2, but which also communicate with RSE. Today, most advances are in categories 1 and 2 because the necessary RSE infrastructure is not built.
Figure depicts connected vehicles communicated at a busy intersection.
Figure 1. Illustration. Connected vehicles can help to prevent crashes at busy intersections.
Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Figure depicts connected vehicles communicated at a busy intersection.
Figure 2. Illustration. Platooning uses cooperative adaptive cruise control to improve traffic flow stability.
Source: Source: U.S. Department of Transportation

Regulatory and Government Enablers

The Federal government influences, directs, and in essence enables CAV primarily by its funding for research, development, and testing related to CAV standards, technologies, and applications; advancing key rulemakings; and providing guidance and architectures that inform and instruct deployment communities. New technologies to enable vehicle automation have largely been driven by the private sector, including both traditional auto manufacturers and the new "disrupter" businesses in the CAV market, which include companies such as Google, Apple, and Uber. In contrast, connected vehicle technologies have been driven largely by the regulatory and government efforts which are described in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Connected vehicle deployment driven by the regulatory and government efforts.
Project Dates Technology More Information
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Frequency Allocation 1999 Dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) In 1999, the FCC allocated 75MHz of unlicensed radio spectrum in the 5.9GHz band to "intelligent transportation systems," or ITS, requiring these systems to share the spectrum on a co-primary basis subject to coordination.
Standards Development 2000-Present Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) Standards development organizations such as International Organization for Standardization, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and Society of Automotive Engineers developed the physical communication and application layer standards for DSRC-enabled V2V and V2I communication under the umbrella term "Vehicle Infrastructure Integration." The development programs were supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
Connected Vehicle Test Beds 2007-Present Connected vehicle test beds The USDOT supported DSRC-based V2V and V2I connected vehicle test facilities, beginning with simple proof of concept testing, then expanding in 2010 to the "Michigan Test Bed," with 3000 vehicles and a suite of apps. This was followed by the Affiliated Test Bed Concept, which still receives Federal funding.
Deployment Guidelines 2014-Present Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) deployment The Federal Highway Administration is influencing CAV by incorporating results and lessonslearned from their various test experiences into a set of comprehensive deployment guidelines that advance an integrated approach to CAV deployment.
V2V Rulemakings 2014-2015 Requirement of V2V devices in new light vehicles In August 2014, USDOT and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) and research report regarding V2V communications. The ANPRM seeks public input to support the agency's regulatory work to eventually require V2V devices in new light vehicles. USDOT Secretary Anthony Foxx announced in May 2015 that he is accelerating the NHTSA schedule to require V2V devices on new vehicles.
Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture (CVRIA) 2013 - Present Unifying framework and common language for connected vehicle applications The USDOT supported the creation of this architecture, the CVRIA, to provide a unifying framework and common language for the development and deployment of a wide variety of connected vehicle applications.
Connected Vehicle Pilots 2015-Present Connected vehicle pilot deployments in Tampa, FL, Wyoming, and New York City to demonstrate various CAV technologies USDOT ITS Joint Program Office awarded three 12-month connected vehicle pilot deployments to teams representing Tampa, FL, Wyoming, and New York City. These pilot deployments will demonstrate various CAV technologies and application in conformance to the Deployment Guidelines and CVRIA; USDOT has also put out an opportunity to evaluate these and other deployment sites (as of May 2016).

Connected Vehicle Deployment Status

FHWA Connected Vehicle Pilot Program Information:

From facility- and corridor-specific tests conducted by one primary organization, to city-wide integrated mobility concepts deployed cooperatively by diverse teams with USDOT technical and financial support, the scope and breadth of connected vehicle pilots shows that CAV can be a natural extension – the next step, if you will – in integrated corridor management. Below are a handful of CAV pilot initiatives and brief descriptions.

  • USDOT ITS Joint Program Office (JPO) Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot Deployment Program:
    • The Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority will use CAV to solve peak rush hour congestion in downtown Tampa and to protect the city's pedestrians by equipping their smartphones with the same connected technology being put into the vehicles. Tampa also committed to measuring the environmental benefits of using this technology.3
    • The New York City Metropolitan Transportation Commission will install vehicle-tovehicle (V2V) technology in 10,000 city-owned vehicles, cars, buses, and limousines that frequently travel in Midtown Manhattan, and it will install vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology throughout Midtown. This includes upgrading traffic signals with V2I technology between 14th Street and 66th Street in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Additionally, roadside units will be equipped with connected vehicle technology along FDR Drive between 50th Street and 90th Street.4
    • The Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT) pilot focuses on the efficient and safe movement of freight through the I-80 east-west corridor, which is critical to commercial heavy-duty vehicles moving across that part of the country. Approximately 11,000 – 16,000 vehicles travel the corridor daily. Using V2V and V2I applications, WYDOT will collect information and disseminate it to vehicles not equipped with the new technologies.5
  • A Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) CV test on I-70 will equip more than 700 CDOT, first responder, ski shuttle, and commercial vehicles with dedicated short-range communications (DSRC) devices to transmit information on road conditions, traffic and closures. The devices will also be installed on roadside infrastructure to collect data on vehicle speed and incidents. The goal is to make trips across the corridor more efficient and improve traffic by informing drivers and vehicles about upcoming hazards. CDOT will invest $10 million over the next several years.
  • The Google Self-Driving Car Project may be the most famous private sector CAV effort today.6 Google designed, built, and is testing fully autonomous vehicles (intended to operate with no human intervention). Google is also testing a Level 4 autonomous vehicle with no steering wheel, brake or gas pedals. By October 31, 2016, the Google car had logged more than 2 million autonomous miles.7 Other private companies competing in this market include Tesla, Apple, Verizon, BMW, Audi, Ford, and essentially every auto original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and Tier-1 electronics supplier.8
  • Public/private CAV efforts that bring private sector funds to a private sector research entity include:
    • Uber's partnership with Carnegie Mellon University (although Uber also opened its own CAV research center).
    • Google and Mountain View, California, a jurisdiction that permits Level 4 autonomous vehicles to operate on its city streets.
    • Toyota and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), which together announced in April 2016 a partnership that aims to help the newly launched Ann Arbor Connected Vehicle Test Environment (AACVTE) deploy 5,000 vehicles equipped with a vehicle awareness device to transmit speed and positioning data to other equipped vehicles as well as to the surrounding roadside and intersections.9

1 USDOT, Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, "Intermodal Research: Integrated Corridor Management" Web page. Available at: Return to note 1.

2 General Motors, "GM Heritage Center - OnStar" Web page. Available at: Return to note 2.

3 USDOT, Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office, "U.S. Department of Transportation Announces up to $42 Million in Next Generation Connected Vehicle Technologies," press release issued September 14th, 2015. Available at: Return to note 3.

4 Ibid. Return to note 4.

5 Ibid. Return to note 5.

6 Google, "Google Self-Driving Car Project" web page. Available at: Return to note 6.

7Google, "Google Self-Driving Car Project, Monthly Report, October 2016." Available at: Return to note 7.

8 OEM, or original equipment manufacturer, is a common name in the auto industry for the "traditional" car manufacturers. This differentiates them from the new disrupter community. Tier 1 providers are the primary major parts manufacturers that supply many of the OEMs. Return to note 8.

9 Nicole Casal Moore, University of Michigan College of Engineering, "New Toyota autonomous vehicle hub boosts region's leadership in transforming mobility," April 7, 2016. Available at: Return to note 9.

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