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A Connected Vehicle-Enabled Virtual Dynamic Message Sign System Demonstration and Evaluation

Abstract
Dynamic Message Signs (DMSs) are widely used to deliver traveler information and have proven to be very effective for Departments of Transportation (DOTs). However, key limitations exist: (1) existing DMSs are limited in managing dynamic situations given that DMSs are only available at relatively sparsely spaced fixed locations, (2) reading DMS messages is distracting to drivers, and (3) installation and maintenance of DMSs is expensive. To address these limitations, a smartphone-based virtual DMS application was developed in the first round of Connected Vehicle/Infrastructure University Transportation Center (CVI-UTC) projects. This application uses smartphones to provide audible “reading” of the current DMS messages to drivers when they enter a geographic zone in the proximity of the fixed sign. In addition, the project used extensive driving simulator testing to prove that virtual DMSs are less distracting, and more informative, than traditional physical DMSs. Building upon this completed work, the University of Virginia Center for Transportation Studies (UVA CTS) team proposes to develop a second generation of the Virtual Dynamic Message Sign (VDMS) system that is suitable for demonstration and evaluation on the Northern Virginia Connected Vehicle Test Bed.

This system will be implemented via a software interface with the VDMS network, retrieving data at a specified interval. Additional virtual messaging is added, as needed, by an operator, prior to delivery of messages. Following this, via a distribution system, messages are delivered and converted to an audible message for delivery to drivers in the appropriate geographic region, i.e. communication ranges of a roadside equipment for the message. In addition to sending out notifications, a software program will be developed to track, update, and modify the system in real time, insuring that messages are promptly disseminated to the travelling public. The program will be implemented on the existing Northern Virginia Connected Vehicle Test Bed. Quality control, demonstration, and evaluation will be measured for effectiveness.

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