Visible to the public Transforming a City’s Transportation Infrastructure through an Embedded Pervasive Communication Network


The objective of this inter-disciplinary research is to develop new wireless technologies that transform the streets of a city into a hybrid transportation/communication system, called the Intelligent Road (iRoad), where autonomous wireless devices are co-located with traffic signals, forming a wireless network that fuses transportation data from all over the city to support a wide range of new applications. The proposed research will establish the theories and protocols for a high-speed, pervasive, wireless platform that can lead to transformative changes in the way transportation monitoring and control functions are designed, managed and operated. Its main technical approach is to build new wireless capacities of quantitative bandwidth distribution, rate/delay assurance, and anonymous information gathering, based on which novel transportation applications can be designed, such as origin-destination flow measurement, intelligent fuel- efficient vehicles, coordinated traffic signal control, traffic maps, etc. The project investigates an array of challenging problems in order to find new ways of transportation function design that exploits information made available through iRoad, new mechanisms of managing wireless resources such that limited bandwidth can be quickly reallocate from one wireless link to another based on traffic dynamics, and new communication protocols that differentiate and prioritize various types of data flows and provide rate or delay assurance for high-priority flows. Moreover, security and privacy are critical for transportation functions that measure vehicular data through the interaction between vehicles and the city-wide iRoad wireless network. In particular, location privacy of drivers must be protected while statistical data on traffic conditions are monitored. Successful completion of these research tasks will advance the state of the art in both wireless technologies and transportation engineering. Some research outcome may find applications in other cyber-physical wireless systems as well. The potential impact of the iRoad system is significant at a time when the country is modernizing its transportation infrastructure. Information technologies have already been widely used to improve the efficiency of transportation management and control in various aspects. The practical value of this research project is to provide a pervasive communication infrastructure and a common engineering framework that are embedded in the streets of a city to integrate various control functions, amply the effectiveness of existing technologies, and enable new applications.

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