Information Gathering Infrastructure Toward Intelligent Transporation

Abstract and project information last updated: 16 August 2011. Project updates are dated below.

Jeffrey Miller, UAA

Alaska University Transportation Center and University of Alaska Anchorage

1 August 2011
End Date
31 December 2012


Much of the vital transportation-related research going on within ADOT&PF faces costly limitations in the way it collects and examines data. On the one hand, such research is constrained by a lack of real-time data analysis. On the other hand, this work typically relies upon privately owned cellular communication towers to relay necessary data at great cost to researchers and the State of Alaska.

A new project headed by researcher Jeffrey Miller of the University of Alaska Anchorage will address both of these issues by creating and using independent communication towers to transmit data through a Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) system, allowing for real time city-wide data analysis without costly monthly fees. Never before in ADOT&PF’s work has vehicle data been available in real time and exposed through a web interface with data transmitting live over a novel V2I architecture that may operate in perpetuity.

Cellular companies have not shown interest in partnering with a vehicle data gathering organization, so there will always be fees associated with each device communicating over the cellular network back to the central infrastructure. To remove this cost, Miller’s team is installing independent communication towers that, instead of incurring external monthly fees, rely only upon internal support and maintenance. The project will utilize the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) port of a vehicle to allow data from the vehicle’s computer system to be gathered and transmitted over the V2I network. Hosted at UAA, the database server utilizes customized structural components designed using structural, modal and dynamic finite element analysis techniques. Manufactured and fabricated in the UAA machine shop and design studio facilities, its manufacturing and assembly drawings of structural components will be made available to ADOT&PF.

While many of the external costs have been removed and covered within ADOT&PF, this system’s benefits will serve a variety of other agencies. Miller is designing a protocol through which other agencies and public institutions may access the server with specific guidelines on data-retrieval, request for specific information collection and specifications on scalable interface design for addition to future applications and projects. Scaling and expanding this capacity for future projects remains a major priority for Miller’s team. Data such as revolutions per minute (RPM), fuel consumption, acceleration/deceleration rates, engine/cabin/outside temperature, tire pressure and tire rotation may interest a variety of public entities, researchers and planners.