Honolulu to Host $6M Connected Vehicle Data Laboratory

The city of Honolulu, HI will host a $6 million, four-year long, connected-vehicle data laboratory on a five-mile (~ 8 km) stretch of highway. The pilot project will install technology that tracks how many cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians pass on the streets and sidewalks – as well as how fast and what type of vehicles are passing through. The project has come about through a partnership between the Hawaii Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the University of Hawaii, and several transportation technology companies.

The technology will rely on “vehicle-to-everything (V2X) units that are connected to 34 of the corridor’s traffic lights, and a traffic software program administered by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT.) The V2X units will connect the traffic signals to nearly every cloud-connected device that passes through the intersections.

“In order to help the State of Hawaiʻi move forward with its visionary plan for future [connected autonomous vehicle] deployment, UH College of Engineering is proud to lead this effort of upgrading the traffic signal system of Nimitz Highway,” David Ma, an engineering professor at the University of Hawaii, wrote. “Not only will this project create a smart transportation corridor in the heart of downtown Honolulu, it also serves to show the state and UH’s commitment both to high-tech applications and to a safer, more efficient transportation system for Hawaiʻi.”

The pilot also includes a mobile app – TravelSafely – that provides real-time traffic alerts. The project will also deliver applications for red light violations, pedestrian and cyclist collisions, emergency vehicle warnings, and traffic signal priorities.

During the four-year pilot, University of Hawaii students and government researchers will be able to analyze the data in a new traffic engineering lab equipped with “the most advanced traffic control, management and detection devices,” according to the university.

“(The lab) will create unprecedented opportunities in cutting-edge research in traffic mobility and safety, such as vehicle-infrastructure integration, connected vehicle system control, arterial-wide speed harmonization and more,” Ma said. “(It) will become a mini traffic management center that enables UH researchers to analyze traffic data in real time and help HDOT staff make necessary adjustments to optimize the performance of the traffic system.”