SafeTrip-21 Transportation Safety Technologies Hit the Streets of Manhattan

SafeTrip-21 Transportation Safety Technologies Hit the Streets of Manhattan

The Volpe Center has launched a bold, new intelligent transportation systems (ITS) initiative dubbed SafeTrip-21, for Safe and Efficient Travel Through Innovation and Partnerships for the 21st Century.

SafeTrip-21 builds upon the U.S. DOT Vehicle Infrastructure Integration (VII) research and leverage’s technologies currently in wide use such as cellular phones, GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth, and the Internet, to accelerate the advance of safety and mobility applications. The Volpe Center will assess applications to improve automobile travel and public transit convenience as well as commercial vehicle safety and productivity.

In June 2008, the Volpe Center entered into a cooperative agreement with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) establishing the inaugural SafeTrip-21 field test site in the San Francisco Bay area. In this 12-month field test beginning December 2008, travelers will receive transportation information and transmit their own transportation data, creating a real-time, dynamic, wireless data mesh of mobile information- a virtual “web on wheels.”

SafeTrip-21 technologies were unveiled at the 15th ITS World Congress in New York City in November. A New York MTA bus and two rental vehicles were equipped to demonstrate applications for both drivers and transit riders on the streets of Manhattan. Also, key driver and pedestrian applications were show-cased at a special “Integrated Show” which included technologies developed worldwide.

Three new SafeTrip-21 partners were also announced at the World Congress:

  • iCone deploys active road cones to help increase roadway safety by using radar to measure traffic speed.
  • Parking Carma fields a mobile webenabled parking application that allows travelers to find, reserve, and pay for a parking space at a participating “smart” parking lot.
  • The I-95 Corridor Coalition uses vehicle probe data make it much easier for I-95 travelers to get information about traffic backups, construction information, and other delays.

The Volpe Center is excited about Safe-Trip-21 and the development of these technologies in the coming year.

image of a safetrip 21 equipped bus in NYC
SafeTrip-21 technology on display at the ITS World Congress on the streets of Manhattan. This New York MTA Orion IV low-floor, hybrid electric bus was equipped to demonstrate how SafeTrip-21 uses available technologies to bring the future of travel to the United States today. (Photo courtesy of University of California Partners for Advanced Transit and Highways)

iCone wins SafeTrip-21 approval

iCone wins SafeTrip-21 approval

icone-seethroughRight: iCone contains a suite of devices to provide information about its immediate environment to remote users

A ‘smart’ road cone that monitors traffic and relays the data wirelessly has been approved for inclusion in the SafeTrip-21 ITS program run by the US DOT’s RITA. The iCone looks like a normal traffic barrel, but contains a suite of devices to provide information about its immediate environment to remote users.

Within the orange and white striped barrel is a GPS unit, vehicle speed measurer, vehicle counter and road temperature sensors. The data are transmitted by GPRS or, when a regular signal is not available, by an Iridium satellite link. The battery unit can power the devices for up to 17 days and the recharge socket on the side of the iCone is one of the few elements that distinguishes it from ordinary, dumb barrels.

“It’s good for monitoring vehicle speed in work zones,” says Lee Maynus, senior engineer at the Cato, New York, company. All data are viewable by users through the web, an example of which can be seen here –

Left: iCone looks like a normal traffic barrel

Maynus says that users needn’t worry about the high-tech equipped barrels being stolen. “A guy tried to make off with one last month, but he didn’t know that it includes an accelerometer,” Maynus told this website at the ITS World Congress. “As soon as it detects movement it increases the frequency of location transmission so we could follow it, all the way. We even saw that he stopped by a market on his way. Then we gave the information to the police department and within 12 hours we had our barrel back and the thief was charged.”

20 November 2008