ITS Benefits >> Prototype Crash Warning Interface displays for Connected Vehicle-based motorcycle Crash Warning System show considerable promise for implementation.

This study explored possible interface designs for motorcycle Crash Warning Systems (CWS) and evaluated their rider acceptance and effectiveness in a Connected Vehicle Technologies (CVT) context. Most previous motorcycle CWS studies were conducted in simulated environments where risk was well controlled. However, compared to other drivers, motorcycle riders are riding in a relatively exposed and dynamic environment where motorcycle noise, wind impacts, vibration, etc. are present, which increases the difficulties of reproducing a realistic riding environment in a simulator. This study was designed to evaluate a prototype motorcycle crash warning interface (CWI) and collect measures of user acceptance and input within realistic on-road riding scenarios in a connected vehicle environment.

Methodology

Four prototype warning interface displays covering three warning mode alternatives (auditory, visual and haptic) were designed and developed for the motorcycles. The warnings were also designed to present two urgency levels (caution alert and warning alert).

The CWS was tested on-road with three connected vehicle safety applications that were selected according to the most crash types identified to have the highest impact for motorcycles:

    1. Intersection Movement Assist (IMA)
    2. Forward Collision Warning (FCW)
    3. Lane Departure Warning (LCW).

The road test took place on the Virginia Smart Road, a 2.2-mile test track in Blacksburg, Virginia. Exercising the warning interface was done by manual control for each CV-based CWS application rather than using real-time algorithm calculations to ensure that experimental focus remained on the interface itself. A mixed-factorial experimental design was used in this study where the 39 licensed participants experienced all application scenarios (three levels – IMA, FCW, and LCW) with each CWI display (four levels – visor-mounted LED strips, in-helmet headset, haptic wristbands, and a combination of all (combo), including mirror-mounted LED strips) in a balanced order. Along with the CWI, two motion cameras (capturing rider torso and head, and forward roadway and hand(s) respectively) were mounted on the motorcycle’s handlebar and on a backpack carried by the riders. Rider acceptance was assessed by collecting subjective data through a set of questionnaires that allowed the participants to reflect on their experiences to provide measures such as desirability, usefulness, and system limitations.

Findings

  • It was found that participants of sport, cruisers, and touring motorcycles had overwhelmingly positive views of potential CVT based motorcycle CWS, through its prototype CWI and applications. Although no significant difference in motorcycle type, cruiser and touring riders gave higher benefit ratings (averages are 6.23 and 6.37, on a scale of 7) to CWS applications than sport riders (average 5.31).
  • A majority of participants (61.5%) thought warnings from the visor-mounted LED light strips were "obtrusive and distracting being in field of vision."
  • While participants appreciated the new stimulation and location of the haptic wristband, many expressed concern about distinguishing between the haptic pulse and the motorcycle vibration.
  • The majority of participants indicated that they did not notice the mirror-mounted LED strips at all.
  • While the participants disliked the combo of all modalities for being "too much and distracting" they cited a combination of two displays as most ideal, with the auditory combined with haptic being the preferred pairing among the displays.
  • In general, approximate times at which a response was observed in these scenarios were 2.58 seconds for the LCW scenario, 0.79 seconds for the FCW scenario and 0.74 seconds for the IMA scenario.

Read more: ITS Benefits >> Prototype Crash Warning Interface displays for Connected Vehicle-based motorcycle...

ITS Benefits >> Active Traffic Management system installed along I-66 reduces travel times by up to 11 percent and reduces vehicle delay by up to 68 percent

In September 2015, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) activated an active traffic management (ATM) system on I-66 through Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties from the Washington, D.C. line to Route 29 in Gainesville. The system includes new overhead sign gantries, shoulder and lane control signs, speed displays, incident and queue detection, and increased traffic camera coverage. A total of 21 overhead gantries were installed in each direction between the Beltway and Route 29 in Centreville and were spaced .6 miles apart.

Methodology
State researchers looked at travel times between the Centreville exit and the Capital Beltway (approximately 12.5 miles) to determine the impact of the new signage and changes to the use of the shoulder lanes. Data were analyzed for October 2014 to February 2015 (Before-ATM) and from October 2015 to February 2016 (After-ATM).

Findings

Hard Should Running Utilization in Hours (Average hours of operations/ day per Gantry)

Direction - Average Day Before ATM After ATM
Eastbound - Weekday 5.5 8
Eastbound - Weekend N/A 2.4
Westbound - Weekday 6 6
Westbound - Weekend N/A 2

Avg EB Weekday Travel Times

Time Period Oct 2014 - Feb 2015 Oct 2015 - Feb 2016 Change
AM Peak
(5:30 AM - 11 AM)
17.0 min 18.2 min +1.2 (+7%)
Midday
(11 AM - 2 PM)
13.3 min 13.2 min -0.1 (-1%)
PM Peak
(2 PM - 8 PM)
14.7 min 13.7 min -1.0 (-6%)

Avg EB Weekend Travel Times

Time Period Oct 2014 - Feb 2015 Oct 2015 - Feb 2016 Change
Daytime Peak
(10 AM - 8 PM)
14.5 min 13.1 min -1.4 (-10%)

Avg WB Weekday Travel Times

Time Period Oct 2014 - Feb 2015 Oct 2015 - Feb 2016 Change
AM Peak
(5:30 AM - 11 AM)
12.6 min 12.3 min -0.3 (-2%)
Midday
(11 AM - 2 PM)
13.3 min 12.7 min -0.6 (-5%)
PM Peak
(2 PM - 8 PM)
21.7 min 22.5 min +0.8 (+4%)

Avg WB Weekend Travel Times

Time Period Oct 2014 - Feb 2015 Oct 2015 - Feb 2016 Change
Daytime Peak
(10 AM - 8 PM)
13.7 min 12.2 min -1.5 (-11%)

Total Traveler Delay (veh-hour)

Direction Average Day Before ATM After ATM Change
Eastbound Weekday 2968.5 3353.4 +13.0 %
Eastbound Weekend 1682.5 704.7 -58.1 %
Westbound Weekday 5121.6 5583.3 +9.0 %
Westbound Weekend 1292.5 416.8 -67.8 %

Conclusions

  • The ATM system had minimal effect on travel times during weekday peak periods, since shoulders were already in use before installation.
  • Small benefits were observed in the off peak direction and during midday periods during the week.
  • Flow improved substantially during the weekends. Both mean travel time and travel time reliability improved by a statistically significant amount.
  • Most operational improvements appear to be attributable to shoulder lane usage.
  • Preliminary safety data is promising, but more data is needed.

Read more: ITS Benefits >> Active Traffic Management system installed along I-66 reduces travel times by up...

ITS Benefits >> Following a small-scale launch of a real-time transit information systen in Tampa, 64 percent of users reported spending less time waiting at the bus stop.

The objective of this research was to quantify the benefits of real-time information (RTI) provided to bus riders. The method used was a behavioral experiment with a before-after control group design in which RTI was only provided to the experimental group. Tampa was selected as the location for this study as the demographics of Hillsborough Regional Transit Authority’s (HART) ridership are largely transit-dependent users. In addition, though HART’s buses were equipped with automatic vehicle location (AVL) equipment at the time of the study for operational purposes, RTI was not yet shared with riders.

Methodology
The transit agency and a research team pursued a small-scale launch of a transit traveler information system that provided RTI for HART buses. The study’s 268 participants were randomly assigned to the control group and the experimental group. Only the experimental group was emailed instructions explaining how to use RTI, and they were instructed not to share RTI with anyone during the study period. Five interfaces were developed for the transit traveler information system and were made available to the experimental group: a website, two mobile websites for internet-enabled mobile devices (one text-only and the other optimized for smartphones), a native Android application, and a native iPhone application.

Web-based surveys were used to measure behavior, feeling, and satisfaction changes of HART’s bus riders over a study period of approximately three months.

  • The "before" survey was conducted in February 2013 during a two week period.
  • The "after" survey was administered during the last two weeks of May 2013.

Findings

  • 64 percent of RTI users reported that they spent less time waiting at the bus stop, which is in alignment with the previous analysis of "usual" wait times.
  • A difference of means analysis of gain scores of "usual" wait times revealed a significantly larger decrease (nearly 2 minutes) for the experimental group than the control group.
  • 68 percent of the experimental group agreed that they felt "more relaxed" since they started using RTI. The experimental group was also found to feel more "productive" and less "frustrated" while waiting for the bus.
  • 39 percent of the experimental group reported that they make HART bus trips more often since using RTI, while the majority (60 percent) stated that they ride HART buses "about the same" amount.

Read more: ITS Benefits >> Following a small-scale launch of a real-time transit information systen in...

ITS Benefits >> A mobile weather responsive traffic management system saved the Wyoming DOT more than one person-year of labor costs.

The U.S. DOT FHWA partnered with the Wyoming DOT (WYDOT) to develop a weather responsive traffic management (WRTM) application to improve the way WYDOT maintenance personnel report road weather data, recommend variable speed limit (VSL) changes, and report traffic incidents. The new application designed to work with tablet computers enabled maintenance staff to connect to Wyoming’s statewide communication system backbone called WyoLink.

FINDINGS

Although the deployment was technically complex and required intense management attention, the application improved the effectiveness and efficiency of WYDOT road condition reporting activities and TMC operations. The following conclusions were excerpted from the source report.

  • Strong support for the application and corresponding system was expressed by both maintenance staff and TMC operators with 100 percent and 89 percent, respectively, stating that the DOT is better off with the new system
  • In addition to the application, traffic management was improved through the development and implementation of supporting data management systems, such as TRAC and traveler information update automation software
  • Significant TMC operator time savings were calculated from the automation of several key tasks – data logging and traveler information system updates. Based on road reports including storm days and non-storm days from January 2014 to December 2014, WYDOT estimated that using the application can result in more than one person-year of time savings
  • Efficiency of data collection, transmission, and management were realized, allowing for a higher frequency of road condition reporting and VSL change requests
  • Accuracy of the traveler information was improved due to higher-frequency reporting of the conditions from the field and resulting higher DMS/VSL update rates
  • Accuracy of information transmitted to the TMC from the field was substantially improved, specifically road condition reports, VSL change requests, and other reporting such as location of incidents
  • Future system enhancements were identified to further refine the application and related systems to improve the application of the new technology in the next winter season.

Read more: ITS Benefits >> A mobile weather responsive traffic management system saved the Wyoming DOT more...

ITS Benefits >> Transit management system in Chicago reduces larger-than-scheduled bus gaps by nearly 40 percent.

In 2015, Chicago Transit Authority implemented the Bus Transit Management System (BTMS) that monitors bus movements in real-time to address "bus bunching" and long waits between buses. Through touch-screen terminals on every CTA bus, BTMS allows for improved two-way communication between drivers and CTA’s Control and Power Center (C/PC), the command center that monitors all bus and train operations throughout the service region.

The system enables the Control Center to better track the location and movement of buses, and quickly convey route or speed changes to operators in order to ensure proper spreading of buses and adherence to schedule when possible. If Control Center personnel detect conditions that could lead to a service delay or bus bunching — more than one bus arriving at a stop at or near the same time — they can instruct the driver to adjust the route accordingly. Further, if the Control Center needs to send a message to multiple buses about a reroute due to police or fire activity, it can be done instantaneously.

FINDINGS

Testing on buses at two South Side CTA garages that initially received the new system has shown significant improvement to bus service.

  • Since January 2015, bus "big gaps"— defined as larger-than-scheduled periods of time between buses — on nine of the busiest South Side bus routes have dropped an average of nearly 40 percent.

Read more: ITS Benefits >> Transit management system in Chicago reduces larger-than-scheduled bus gaps by...

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