About 35,000 lives are lost every year due to road accidents in the US. In intersections alone, there are about 8,500 fatalities. More than a million accidents and injuries per year take a major toll on productivity. Most accidents occur due to human errors such as distractions, tiredness or other forms of impairment. Traffic delays cause driving commuters to spend an aggregate week stuck in traffic every year, leading to huge losses in productivity. TSET is a University Transportation Center that focuses on technologies that will make transportation safer and more efficient. The following complimentary technology thrust areas are designed to make crashes rare events rather than the normal expected events that they are today:
- In-vehicle safety technologies: Sensors and actuators within vehicles will assist the human driver by performing around-the-vehicle sensing, looking ahead, communicating using V2V and V2I, fusing sensors and notifying the driver of unsafe conditions and intervening when necessary.
- Infrastructure safety technologies: Smart traffic light controllers will be used to make Intersections safer, smart bridges will track their own structural health and prevent untimely failures, smart public transit will make access to parking and mass transit easier and faster, and automatic road surface monitoring will lead to well-maintained roads.
- Human factors: human-vehicle interactions will pro-actively infer driver preferences, and issue notifications without overloading the driver.
- Large-scale mobility and data analytics: Off-line processing of traffic datasets will identify safe and fast routes as well as dangerous and accident-prone zones. Real-time navigation assistance integrated with social networking technologies will offer up-to-date traffic information and enable drivers to reach their destinations faster and safer.
In addition, we propose a strong workforce development program that will train graduate students in modern transportation-related technologies and policy-making. A menu of graduate courses, an M.S. program framework that emphasizes transportation, a graduate seminar series on transportation topics and research projects will educate and train a new generation of graduate students. Multi-dimensional outreach will include exposing K-12 students to transportation and smart vehicles, and leveraging public relations to convince a wide segment of the public to know and use life-saving technologies. The proposing team is comprised of well-established transportation experts from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), two world-class research leaders.
A new consortium called Consortium for Technologies for Safe and Efficient Transportation (CT-SET) have members from the public and private sectors, with more than 25 members offering their commitment to join the consortium. Our team-members work closely with carmakers – CMU has worked extensively with General Motors since 2000. Both CMU and Penn fielded vehicles in the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge and were two of the six vehicles that completed the race successfully with CMU winning the $2M first prize. Strong partners from the automotive sector, industry and local government agencies will serve as an active bridge for transitioning results of our research to transforming transportation to become safer. Our team of universities has a proven track record of deploying and commercializing transportation technology. A well-defined management lineup will guide the execution of our research, development, educational and deployment plans.