The National Academies

NCHRP 20-102(24) [Pending]

Infrastructure Modifications to Improve the Operational Conditions of Automated Vehicles
[ NCHRP 20-102 (Impacts of Connected Vehicles and Automated Vehicles on State and Local Transportation Agencies--Task-Order Support) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $800,000
Contract Time: 36 months
Staff Responsibility: Christopher McKenney
Comments: Contract pending at this time.


Connected and automated vehicle (CAV) technologies are quickly creating a growing need for roadways and other infrastructure to consider the impacts of CAVs as well as deployments limited to operational domains (OD). The OD is the area that represents conditional automation where the vehicle can safely operate and handle all driving functions. Limitations in OD may stem from factors that challenge an automated vehicle’s (AV’s) ability to accurately perceive the surrounding environment and effectively make decisions, such as in adverse weather or with degraded lane markings.


While state and local agencies and other infrastructure owner-operators (IOO) may not be able to control some OD limitations, they can take steps to modify infrastructure to improve the OD, such as fostering accessibility and economic opportunities, connecting strategic locations, and attracting CAV testing and deployment. Infrastructure modifications may include infrastructure-to-vehicle (I2V) communication systems, signage, and other infrastructure components such as curbs and barriers to provide different levels of segregation between CAVs and other road users.


To facilitate a smoother transition to CAV transportation, there is a need to provide guidance to aid IOO with the assessment of the impact of CAV deployment on roadway design, operations, and maintenance as well as the broader impact on procurement, regulatory requirements, and workforce needs and changes.




The objective of this research is to provide guidelines for IOO on how to (1) align infrastructure modifications with technology that influences OD to best achieve the transition to CAV deployment, (2) identify and assess potential impacts of CAV deployment on roadway design, operation, and maintenance as well as the impact on procurement, regulatory, and workforce requirements, and (3) identify physical and digital infrastructure modifications that could improve the OD of CAVs.


Accomplishment of the project objective will require at least the following tasks.





Task 1. Conduct a literature review to identify CAV technologies that influence OD, both currently available and in development. This task may include discussion with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) or AV technology companies. Identify existing gaps in research on the influence of CAV technologies on OD. Determine lessons learned from CAV testing and deployment activities. 


Task 2. Identify infrastructure modifications that facilitate deployment of CAV. Modifications ready for application should be distinguished from those pertaining to technologies still in development. Performance data from CAV testing and deployments shall also be considered in identifying infrastructure modifications. Submit a technical memorandum summarizing the findings of Tasks 1 and 2 with a detailed outline of the proposed guidelines for NCHRP review. NCHRP approval of the memorandum is required before work on Task 3 may begin.


Task 3. Develop draft guidelines for aligning infrastructure modifications with technology influencing OD. The guidelines shall be designed to enable IOO to identify and prioritize potential modifications that enable the deployment of CAVs. The draft guidelines shall also include proposed performance metrics to evaluate the improvements in OD offered by the infrastructure modifications. These metrics should consider impacts to both existing and future road users, levels of vehicle automation, and safety and mobility benefits offered by CAV technologies.


Task 4. Prepare an interim report that documents the research performed in Tasks 1 through 3. Following the review of the interim report by the NCHRP, the research team will be required to make a presentation to NCHRP. Work on Phase II will not begin until the interim report is approved and the Phase II work plan is authorized by the NCHRP. The decision on proceeding with Phase II will be based on the contractor’s justification of the updated work plan.





Task 5. Conduct four to eight representative case studies using the draft guidelines. This task may feature case studies involving simulation, closed course, or on-road data collection to validate the guidelines. The case studies shall feature a diverse range of roadway environments, functional classes, and vehicle automation levels. Relevant stakeholders may be engaged to assist with conducting the case studies.


Task 6. Analyze case study data and revise the guidelines. Data analysis will feature validating against the guidelines and outline the data requirements for IOO seeking to implement infrastructure modifications. Data requirements shall consider safety, mobility, equity, and accessibility metrics.


Task 7. Prepare a final deliverable that documents the entire research. Deliverable will include (1) a research report documenting the work performed in the project and used to develop the guidelines, (2) the guidelines, (3) presentation material, and (4) technical memorandum on implementation.

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