The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is implementing a new program to install in new vehicles electronic devices called Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration (VII), which could alert drivers to road dangers ahead, in an effort to reduce the number of traffic collisions in California, according to the Eureka Reporter.
In 2005, 4,304 people were killed in traffic collisions in California, according to Caltrans, and the agency hopes the implementation of VII will decrease that "frightening figure," according to the paper.
According to a news release, the Information Technology Services Joint Program Office of the U.S. Department of Transportation recently recognized Caltrans for its leadership and innovation in transportation technology by officially including VII California in the national effort, the paper reported.
Both the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Caltrans have each set aside $1.5 million for research on VII to decrease fatal collisions on California highways while increasing mobility, the Eureka Reporter said.
"VII is an example of a public-private partnership where government has joined hands with private industry to find ways to improve vehicle safety and to increase mobility for people and goods," Caltrans Director Will Kempton said in a news release.
According to the paper, Caltrans is the first public agency in the U.S. to install VII hot-spots, and is developing an approximately 60-mile test area along with the MTC, where VII is being tested in partnership with the University of California, Berkeley and the auto industry.
If VII were fully implemented, every car manufactured in the U.S. would be outfitted with a communications device and a Global Positioning System enabling data exchange with a nationally instrumented roadway system, the newspaper reported.
Using the system, data transmitted between dedicated short-range communication units along roads and in vehicles could alert drivers to potential dangers, the paper said, and the vehicles themselves also could serve as data collectors for road and traffic conditions. The data could then be passed on to drivers in real time, according to Caltrans, and help increase safety as well as relieve traffic congestion.