Creating a Framework to Plan for the Adaptation of Transportation Infrastructure in the Era of Autonomous Vehicles

However, as car manufacturers such as Volvo and Audi step up the designing and testing of their AV prototypes, it’s only a matter of time these cars will be on the market, sharing the road with conventional vehicles. The roads of the near future will need to support this new technology, and government agencies will need to respond by creating policy, practices and infrastructure for the eventual deployment of AVs.
The self-driving automobile is no longer a fantasy of science fiction, it’s an exciting, new technology, one that is well on its way to becoming a reality on our roads. We’ve already seen a version of it - the Google car - an autonomous vehicle (AV) navigating through roads and city streets out west.

New STRIDE-funded research led by Dr. Yafeng Yin, professor of transportation engineering at the University of Florida Transportation Institute (UFTI), focuses on developing methods for changing transportation infrastructure adapt to the use  of AVs on roads and highways (Infrastructure Adaptation Planning for Automoumous Vehicles, STRIDE 2016) With California, Florida, Michigan, Nevada and Washington, D.C., legalizing the testing of AVs on public roads, this STRIDE-funded research is critical and timely.

A mathematical modeling framework will be created to assist government agencies in determining where to implement AV mobility applications that could, for instance, prevent the activation of traffic bottlenecks, or government agencies may decide to designate certain roads, traffic lanes or highway segments, as AV only that could improve the flow of traffic. These AV only areas will expand as more and more AVs become available, eventually leading to a fully autonomous and connected transportation system. 

“We hope that the findings from this research can make a compelling case for the need and benefit of infrastructure adaptation planning to embrace the AV technology" Dr. Yin said.