Research Grant at the University of Florida Yields Significant Products
After 6 years of operation under a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Tier-1, University Transportation Center (UTC) grant, the Center for Multimodal Solutions for Congestion Mitigation (CMS) closed its doors; but along the way, CMS produced some very impressive products that are currently used in transportation practice. During its operation, CMS conducted 62 research project reports and produced many other publications and presentations, approximately half of which were a result of close collaboration with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), a major partner of the CMS.
In the research category, one such product is the Fitness-to Drive Screening Measure (FTDS). This screening test allows caregivers to rate a driver’s difficulties based on a variety of driver-related behaviors. The test places the driver into a category which generates recommendations that caregivers or occupational therapists can take for the driver. These recommendations include guidelines for continued fitness-to-drive, possible intervention options, or guidance on starting conversations about driving cessation. The AARP is currently using this tool on their website at aarp.org/drc.
Another noteworthy project used by practitioners is a managed lanes analysis element for the widely-used, commercially available CORSIM micro-simulator. Improvements to CORSIM include two-lane highways, toll plazas, HOT lanes, Adaptive Cruise Control, HCS Streets and T-7F interoperability, roundabouts, work zones, freeway queue measurement, lane utilization and lane selection, truck exit percentages, emergency vehicle and signal pre-emption, and several runtime extensions. Consulting firms and government agencies currently using this product include Kimley-Horn, Inc., Tindale Oliver & Associates, Jacobs Engineering Group, Kisinger Campo, Prosser Hallock, Inc., Stanley Consultants, Inc., RS&H, Inc., HNTB, URS Corporation, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., FDOT, and the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.
In order to continue providing an efficient transportation system in Florida, CMS researchers developed tools for estimating travel time on the state’s Strategic Intermodal System (SIS). Travel time reliability is a key performance measure that evaluates the system over time and considers a wide range of conditions, including the presence of incidents, adverse weather, and work zones. The tools developed by CMS researchers provide travel time reliability as a function of various changes in the system. The tools, currently being used by FDOT, can be used to evaluate system-wide implementation alternatives such as road-ranger programs on specific freeway sections, or the installation of various freeway management tools.
An educational product that resulted from CMS funding is the creation of lesson plans for middle-school students aimed at cultivating an interest to transportation as a career. The lesson plans associated with the course taught the students how intelligent vehicles help mitigate congestion through the use of sensors and computer programming and how to program the vehicle to move, follow a route, and detect an emergency. The course was developed using LEGO® Mindstorms NXT. The outreach related to this course is ongoing as it has been adopted by several STRIDE partners , and other institutions such as the University of Miami are interested in using the lesson plans. More information on the lesson plans can be found at www.stride.ce.ufl.edu/lego-robotics-vehicle-lesson-plans-for-secondary-Education.
More information on the CMS accomplishments can be found on the Final Report at trc.ce.ufl.edu/news_and_events/cms_final_report_2007-2013.pdf.