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September 26, 2017

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Increasing motorists’ awareness of pedestrians goal of high-tech program

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Courtesy of City of Las Vegas

The first on-board unit to enhance pedestrian safety and awareness on high-traffic corridors was installed this month on a city of Las Vegas fleet vehicle, part of a partnership between the GENIVI Alliance and the Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility.

What could be a high-tech solution to pedestrian safety launched on Las Vegas streets this month.

The GENIVI Alliance and the Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility launched a 12-month in-vehicle communication pilot project last week that aims to improve vehicle-to-pedestrian awareness on high-traffic and multimodal corridors.

A city of Las Vegas fleet vehicle was the first to be fitted with an on-board-unit (OBU), a tablet-like device, which relays real-time information regarding pedestrian and traffic safety.

“This came about when we were trying to figure out solutions to some challenges that we have,” said Dan Langford, innovation director at the Nevada Center for Advanced Mobility. “We were looking at pedestrian-safety challenges that Las Vegas has, just wanting to keep our people safe on the streets. It was a match made in heaven.”

More units will be installed on city fleet vehicles by the end of July, said Joanna Wadsworth, program manager for the city‘s Public Works Department, transportation engineering division.

The UNLV College of Electrical and Computer Engineering is assembling the next 10 units to be put on city fleet vehicles with a more ambitious goal for the coming months.

“The assembly is phased to produce 10- 20 units at a time with ultimate completion of 100 units by October,” Wadsworth said.

NCAM is footing the bill for the costs of the units.

The additional units will be installed on city and Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada vehicles.

The program includes four components:

Bus stop warning. Motorists are alerted about buses unloading at bus stops ahead; bus passengers often dart out in traffic, trying to make connections.

High-risk warning areas. The device uses the position of the vehicle and the time of day to warn drivers as they approach crosswalks.

Speeding warning. A warning alerts drivers when they are exceeding the posted speed limit in the area.

Traffic stopped ahead. Motorists are alerted when a traffic jam is ahead to reduce the potential of rear-end collisions.

The program is still in its infancy, and data have yet to be logged.

“Test messages have been sent to the first unit to verify that the OBU is successfully communicating,” Wadsworth said. “It is expected that the OBU and data server will be fully functional with the messages for speed limit and crosswalk locations by the end of July.”

The vehicles communicate via cell service and provide vehicle data, such as speed, location, direction.

Roadway information sent to the car is based on information in both the city and Regional Transportation Commission databases. Bus stop and traffic signal data are within the RTC service area. Speed limit and crosswalk data are confined to within the Innovation District in the city of Las Vegas limits.

After the one-year pilot program is completed, city officials will discuss how it can be expanded.

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