January 23, 2017
Photo: Deborah Lockridge
Transportation agencies in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan have formed the Smart Belt Coalition that will focus on automated and connected vehicle initiatives.
Among the coalition’s aims is to look at “commercial freight opportunities in testing, including platooning (connecting more than one vehicle) and potential coordination on interstates.”
The coalition, which includes transportation and academic partners, seeks to support research, testing, policy, funding pursuits and deployment of technologies. The partnership will also share data and provide opportunities for private-sector testers.
“I’m excited for us to continue our efforts in fostering safe and effective development of this technology,” said Leslie S. Richards, PennDOT secretary. “This multi-state partnership not only offers fantastic collaboration opportunities, but will also bring some consistency to testing scenarios that will help the private sector as they develop these technologies.”
With similar climates, truck traffic, and active work on these technologies going in the three participating states, the coalition is designed to act as a resource for both government and the private sector.
The coalition is developing a strategic plan that will initially focus on connected and automated work zones, the aforementiocommercial freight opportunities in testing, and incident management.
Moving forward, the coalition will finalize a strategic plan outlining the framework for participants and opportunities for private-sector testers.
The coalition membership may expand in the future, but for now the participating agencies and universities include:
Pennsylvania: PennDOT, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and Carnegie Mellon University Michigan: Michigan Department of Transportation and University of Michigan Ohio: Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, The Ohio State University and Transportation Research Center
“This new coalition recognizes that automated and connected vehicle initiatives transcend state boundaries and spur emerging technologies,” said Mark Compton, CEO of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. “Working together, we will be able to more effectively advance these emerging technologies for all motorists.”