Development of a Digital Highway Framework to Facilitate Crash Avoidance

Principal Investigator(s):

Max Donath, Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Project summary:

Roadway departure crashes represent a major road safety issue on both the national and state level. Infrastructure-based countermeasures, including pavement treatments (e.g., rumble strips) have been successful, but not enough to significantly reduce run-off-road (ROR) fatalities. Newer, higher accuracy GPS technologies open up many possibilities, in particular the potential of inexpensive in-vehicle GPS-based lane-departure warning systems. However, vehicle manufacturers are not likely to deploy these because they require a nationwide high-accuracy lane boundary map. The benefit to state or county DOTs using these software-based lane boundaries, rather than actual lane markings for lane-departure warning, is that the former does not require expensive upkeep. Given the availability of pavement monitoring vans within MnDOT (and other state DOTs), which already log all the roads in the state on a multi-year cycle, it would make sense to examine how such vans can be exploited to also collect the lane boundary map data. The incremental cost may be insignificant. New GPS, smartphone, and LIDAR technologies open up other possibilities in improved asset management and traveler information processes. Leveraging these technologies to create a digital highway framework for safety, while also considering its potential for asset management, is the focus of this research. One outcome of this project is the publication of a report titled "A Next Generation Non-Distracting In-Vehicle 511 Traveler Information Service" by researcher Nichole Morris.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2013031
  • Start date: 10/2012
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Transportation Safety and Traffic Flow
  • Topics: Safety, Traffic operations