Last year about this time, we reported how state and local transportation departments are testing the connected vehicle/autonomous vehicle waters by profiling projects in Colorado, Florida, and Ohio. Florida's
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority began seeking residents to volunteer for a pilot project last August, and now Ohio is moving forward with the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor. Billed as the Midwest's proving ground for the technologies, it's a 35-mile stretch of U.S. Route 33 (hence the name) that runs through three counties to connect the cities of Marysville and Dublin. The project also includes Smart Columbus, a mobility initiative made possible by a $40 million grant from U.S. DOT and federal research initiatives performed at the Transportation Research Center Inc. (TRC) in East Liberty, Ohio.

More than 50,000 vehicles travel the corridor’s local, arterial and collector streets and multilane divided highway ramps every day, providing abundant opportunity to create the necessaary real-world testing conditions. So do the 66 automotive companies located along the route. The first step is installing roadside devices and smart traffic signals; equipping 1,200 vehicles with connected vehicle technology; and developing a network to manage the data and overall system. It's a multijurisdictional, multipartner effort involving Dublin and Marysville, Union County, Ohio DOT, DriveOhio, Honda, Battelle, TRC, and Ohio State University College of Engineering.

Michael Baker International was selected for a $1 million contract to provide management and technical oversight and has pulled in subconsultant Alten-Crestte to help participants apply insights gained from the project to improve safety, spur economic development throughout the corridor, and showcase the approach as a model for inter-governmental collaboration. The contract is part of a $15 million project that includes a $6 million U.S. DOT Advanced Transportation Congestion Management Technologies Deployment grant awarded in 2016 to the NW 33 Innovation Corridor Council of Governments.

Michael Baker conducted the first of two partnering workshops in Columbus to discuss key project elements in early February. The project is scheduled for completion in January 2020.

Fueled by the automotive industry's increasing emphasis on creating a transportation network that's safer, more efficient, less expensive, and largely automated, Michael Baker has worked with clients across the country to implement similar efforts. The firm specializes in the system phase, collaborating with institutions, manufacturers, government agencies, and states to shape smart transportation infrastructure.

“Their experience will help make our roads safer for the real-life testing of connected and autonomous vehicles,” says Terry Emery, president of the NW 33 Innovation Corridor Council of Governments.

Michael Baker International

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