Science & Tech

Austin Enters USDOT SPaT Challenge

Austin has become the first city in Texas to enter the U.S. Department of Transportation’s SPaT (Signal Phasing and Timing) Challenge through the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE).

The City has deployed dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technology at five intersections, with two more projects set for completion in 2019.

The technology will allow connected cars to communicate in real time with the traffic signal controller, increasing pedestrian and vehicle safety as part of the operations of the signalized intersection.

The SPaT challenge is an initiative of the V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) Deployment Coalition, led by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) America.

According to the NOCoE website- SPaT is “A challenge to state and local public sector transportation infrastructure owners and operators to cooperate together to achieve deployment of DSRC infrastructure with SPaT broadcasts in at least one corridor or network (approximately 20 signalized intersections) in each of the 50 states by January 2020. SPaT broadcasts are expected to be accompanied by MAP and (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) broadcasts.”

The map display below illustrates the active and planned deployments in the City of Austin as part of the SPaT Challenge.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has chosen the City of Austin for deployment of the V2I portion of the federal Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture, commonly known as the V2I Hub.

Successful implementation of the guiding architecture was the chief enabler to getting Austin and Texas on the SPaT map.

The small test devices can broadcast industry standard Basic Safety Messages in the immediate vicinity of the intersection to surrounding vehicles equipped with on-board units. The Basic Safety Messages indicate vehicle position, motion, brake system status and size, and provide vehicles with SPaT information as well as MAP data, which is used to illustrate intersection geometry using high-resolution formatting. This type of information will help future connected traffic signals and equipped vehicles communicate about pedestrian or bicyclist presence in the intersection, improve vehicle performance, and provide engineers with traffic data that can be used to improve safety and operations.