Intelligent Transportation Workshop Tackles Solutions to Gridlock

08.16.05 – Transportation is a hot topic. From ongoing debate over the future of California ’s freeways to President Bush’s recent signing of a $286.5 billion transportation bill, traffic has been the subject of much discussion.

It’s nothing new to Calit2 researchers. For several years, they have been developing systems to alleviate gridlock and facilitate automobile travel through information technology. Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Calit2 researchers from UCI and UCSD gathered to share their ongoing projects and ideas in an Intelligent Transportation Systems and Telematics (ITST) workshop held at UCI’s Calit2 Building.

Transportation workshop
Participants discuss ongoing
transportation research.

Researchers participated in an overview of the current state of ITST research, then broke into three groups, to assess their past efforts as well as to develop directions for continued exploration.

The first group focused on vehicle-to-vehicle systems, the second group discussed vehicle-to-infrastructure systems, and the third examined automotive software and systems engineering.

Group One advocated the use of “push-to-talk” technology in automobiles, which would allow drivers who witness roadside accidents to broadcast a message to other drivers in a particular geographic area. After receiving incident details, those driving towards the accident could use the information to change their routes. Group leader Craig Rindt said the group envisioned laptops or in-vehicle navigation systems doing the network “heavy lifting,” while cell phones would serve as the conduits.

Group Two – the Vehicle-to-Infrastructure group – suggested merging the infrastructure technology in progress at UCI with the car-based systems in development at UCSD to build a hi-tech, integrated, affordable “instrumented coastline” system. Group leader James Marca said the group imagined an Orange County-to-San Diego IT-oriented transportation corridor that would leverage information technology to mitigate congestion in that fast-growing coastal region.

The third group advocated more data and safer cars to aid congestion management. They suggested building a comprehensive “service layer” that would include a prototype incorporating GPS and other data bases into cell phones. Group leader Ingolf Krueger described devices that could estimate a driver’s travel time based on other vehicles’ speeds, while integrating human behavior models to suggest the ways in which a human might react to specific traffic situations.

The groups will compile their results into “white papers” to present to funding agencies in an effort to turn their theories and applications into reality.