THEA Connected Vehicle Pilot Aims to Improve Driving in Tampa Bay

Seeking to improve safety and mobility in Tampa Bay with driving innovation, we are bringing connected vehicle technology to Tampa’s Downtown with the THEA Connected Vehicle (CV) Pilot program. Receiving an award from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT), the THEA CV Pilot makes Tampa one of only three cities in the country to test CV technology, and it is the only site to be testing this technology using privately-owned vehicles.

We have equipped more than 1,000 participant cars with onboard units that can “talk” to other vehicles. This exciting technology allows cars to communicate with other cars, providing driver alerts when there is a danger in the roadway like a quick braking car ahead or a wrong way driver. The vehicles also communicate to “smart city” infrastructure that can give cities data to coordinate traffic signal timing and improve pedestrian safety.

Working with public and private partners, like HART, FDOT, Siemens, City of Tampa, Brandmotion, and HNTB, THEA planned, designed and implemented this new technology. Roadside units are placed throughout downtown Tampa, near high use intersections and dangerous crosswalks, along with various points along the Selmon Expressway. Ten buses and ten historic streetcars have also been fitted with the connected technology to give the drivers warnings if a vehicle or pedestrian is in their path. The USDOT estimates that connected vehicle communication has the potential to reduce accident rates by 80%.

Testing has already demonstrated that THEA CV Pilot vehicles can successfully receive alerts to avoid a potential collision when traveling in a “commuter-stimulated” experience with cars closely following one another and that the wired infrastructures can transmit the information as designed.

THEA’s Connected Vehicle Pilot aims to make downtown Tampa a safer, smarter place to walk, ride and drive with improved safety, increased mobility and the environmental benefits of connected vehicle technology.