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Testing Vehicle and Infrastructure Connectivity in Marysville, Ohio

Date:
September 24, 2020
Topics:
Connected Vehicles and Infrastructure, ITS, Resources

Union County, Ohio (population of 52,300 in 2010), and its county seat, the City of Marysville (population of 22,094) are testing vehicle and infrastructure connectivity in real-world conditions.[i] Along the U.S. 33 corridor, this area and neighboring counties are home to automotive manufacturers and research and development entities, making the area ready for innovation. Drive Ohio, the state’s multi-agency partnership to advance smart mobility, and the local jurisdictions are working together with Honda and other partners to deploy roadside DSRC, on-board units in vehicles, and other technologies through connected intersections within the City of Marysville and along the U.S. 33 corridor, which connects Marysville to destinations such as Columbus to the southeast and to the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty to the northwest.[ii]

Project Purposes

Connected Marysville

The City of Marysville, Ohio, has launched Connected Marysville, a project that has equipped all 27 traffic signals with DSRC that will enable communication between the signals and more than 500 planned connected vehicles in the community. This will enable the city to serve as a rural, smart mobility test site and provide automotive companies, government agencies, and academia an opportunity to develop and test connected vehicle technologies in a real-world environment.[iii] 

At the first intersection to receive cameras and DSRC to support connectivity (shown in the image below), downtown buildings at each corner of the intersection block the driver’s view, reducing their opportunity to react safely to another vehicle running the red light, an approaching emergency vehicle, or even a pedestrian crossing. These applications, along with signal phase and timing messages, will alert drivers through their on-board units to the possibility of conflict so that they can react in time. 

City of Marysville, OH Public Services Director Mike Andrako shows visitors the connected cabinet interior.
City of Marysville, OH Public Services Director Mike Andrako shows visitors the connected cabinet interior. Photo courtesy NADO RF.

The city hopes that up to 5 percent of traffic will ultimately be equipped with on-board DSRC units, giving a large enough sample size to study how connected vehicles and intersections work together and how technology can support the goal of reducing fatalities. The vehicles with DSRC units include city and state vehicles such as government fleets and law enforcement vehicles, as well as volunteers interested in participating and local Honda employees.[iv]

The city has worked with key partners to move the project forward. Significant funding has been provided through the U.S. DOT. Drive Ohio has provided funding through ODOT, technology, and technical assistance in the project. Honda has provided research, technology, and equipment, and has recruited employees to have their vehicles equipped with on-board units.  Union County-Marysville Economic Development provides communications and marketing throughout the community, including in connection to other smart transportation projects, and supports the Northwest 33 Council of Governments who have partnered on the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor.

33 Smart Mobility Corridor

The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor is a 35-mile stretch of connected highway with on-the-road infrastructure that allows for the development and testing of vehicle connectivity technologies in a real-world, open and closed, all-weather environment. The corridor includes 94 roadside DSRC units and more than 175 smart signals, including those in Marysville as well as other jurisdictions along the corridor. The project allows for testing in rural, exurban, suburban, and urban environments.

The City of Marysville, Union County, and UnionCounty-Marysville Economic Development have been players in the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor as well as in the Connected Marysville project. Since the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor spans a larger geography, other key partners have included the City of Columbus, City of Dublin, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Transportation Research Center, The Ohio State University and Center for Automotive Research, Honda, ODOT and Drive Ohio, JobsOhio, Battelle, and Logan County. The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission has played a role in convening partners and supporting the project as a benefit to the entire central Ohio region, as the staff to the area’s MPO and the Central Ohio Rural Planning Organization.  These entities work together either as members of the Northwest 33 Council of Governments or as external partners, and together have focused the efforts of working groups on infrastructure, vehicles, smart network, engagement, and funding and finance.[v]

Outcomes

Innovation in transportation technologies is emerging around Ohio in a variety of rural, suburban, and urban locations, and in various types of technologies and applications across modes. The data and information gathered from both Connected Marysville and the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor will be important for research, manufacturing, transportation planning and operations, and more. So far, lessons learned from the rollout of these projects include the amount of time and engagement needed for volunteers to sign on to install on-board units in their vehicles and receive the benefits of intersection conflict warnings and other alerts. Project participants also had not anticipated the pace of change of technology and adaptations that need to be made over time, even as some locations for roadside units needed to install adequate power supply.[vi]

These and other investments in advanced transportation technologies have also sparked interest in workforce development. A Smart Workforce Committee has been established including state and local government partners, educational institutions, and private sector partners. With a significant presence in the region of automotive and other advanced manufacturing as well as research sites, Union County-Marysville Economic Development anticipates future growth in jobs and investment made in the area. A program has been created to train high school students in this field, with local private sector partners offering the students hands-on experience through internships.[vii]

Resources

The ability to test out new technologies in Marysville and Union County has been the result of significant investments by multiple partners. The NW 33 Innovation Corridor Partnership was the recipient of a $5.9 million grant from the U.S. DOT in 2016. 

ODOT recently funded the installation of a fiber network at a cost of approximately $15 million in support of the investments along the corridor, along with local public match of $400,000. Local public and private sources have matched these state and federal investments with nearly $3.5 million. Another $45 million has been invested to establish a dedicated connected and automated vehicle testing facility at the Transportation Research Center, which is an enclosed vehicle proving ground situated along U.S. 33 in East Liberty, Ohio.[viii] Maintenance and operation costs for the connected infrastructure roadside units and signals should be minimal. Typically, the cost to install a roadside unit at an existing traffic signal ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 including installation. On-board units to retrofit vehicles that are not currently connected cost $5,000 including installation.  For more information about these projects and others around Ohio, visit https://www.33smartcorridor.com/ and https://drive.ohio.gov.


[i] Census 2010, http://data.census.gov

[ii] Union County-Marysville Economic Development/CIC (2020), https://www.33smartcorridor.com/

[iii] Personal communication with Mike Andrako, June 2019

[iv] Drive Ohio (2019) “Connected Marysville,” https://drive.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/driveohio/know-our-projects/projects/07-connected-marysville

[v] Personal communication with Mike Andrako, June 2019

[vi] Personal communication with Mike Andrako, June 2019

[vii] Personal communication with Mike Andrako, June 2019

[viii] Union County CIC (2020). “Smart Mobility,” https://www.33smartcorridor.com/mobility

This report was delivered to the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2020. It was primarily authored by NADO Program Manager Rachel Beyerle and NADO Associate Director Carrie Kissel. Many transportation agency staff and others assisted with this project in a variety of ways. We offer deep and heartfelt thanks to all the individuals who have provided information and images, consented to be interviewed, and offered editorial guidance in support of this research. This work is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation under requisition number HOIT190194PR. Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of U.S. DOT or the NADO Research Foundation.