Advanced BRT Volume I: Innovative Technologies for Dedicated Roadways


Mathew Bevilacqua, Max Donath, Craig Shankwitz

March 2008

Report no. CTS 08-06

Presented herein is a novel approach to vehicle positioning using RFID technology (Vehicle Positioning System, or VPS). By installing in the road RFID tags encoded with road name or other designation, the specific lane, the direction of travel, and the longitudinal distance from a known reference, a vehicle outfitted with an RFID tag reader can determine its position each time it passes over and reads a tag, thus, providing precisely the information needed for many ITS applications - the longitudinal position of a vehicle in a particular lane on a particular road of the transportation network.

Knowledge of lane of travel and distance from a known reference provided by VPS enables many transit applications, including headway control of bus platoons, merge/lane change assistance, rear-end collision avoidance, and bay mark-up applications. For lane assist systems, VPS and a lateral positioning system can augment DGSP in urban areas, providing seamless operation where DGPS accuracy is insufficient for lane keeping.

This research focused on designing and building a prototype VPS using existing third party RFID hardware. The hardware was evaluated and characterized to determine if it could be used to create a viable, robust VPS. After the development and characterization of the positioning system, an implementation of a rear-end collision avoidance system was built to demonstrate the use of VPS. Finally, a more sophisticated rear-end collision avoidance system was designed and simulated, after which its implications to the accuracy specifications for VPS were analyzed.

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ITS Institute (RITA)