A Connected Vehicle–Enabled Virtual Dynamic Message Sign System Demonstration and Evaluation on the Virginia Connected Vehicle Test Bed
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Dynamic message signs (DMSs) are widely used to deliver traveler information. While these have proven to be effective, key limitations exist: (1) the locations of DMSs are fixed, (2) reading a DMS message is distracting to drivers, and (3) installation and maintenance of DMSs is expensive. To address these limitations, a smartphone-based virtual DMS (VDMS) application was developed in the first round of Connected Vehicle/Infrastructure University Transportation Center (CVI-UTC) projects. This application used smartphones to provide audible “reading” of DMS messages to drivers. This project built upon previous work to develop a more advanced, second generation of the VDMS system, that is fully integrated in the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) environment of the Virginia Connected Vehicle Test Bed. The highlights of the enhanced VDMS system include (1) use of four of 40+ DSRC-based roadside equipment units (RSEs) on the Virginia Connected Vehicle Test Bed, and (2) software (VDMS Manager) that has the capability to virtually “build” new DMSs and to create modified and new messages for those DMSs. To evaluate the VDMS system as an information dissemination tool to support advanced traffic management, operational testing (including three surveys, entrance, post-incident, and exit) was carried out with actual operators at the McConnell Public Safety and Traffic Operations Center. It was observed that operators preferred the VDMS system due to its capability of providing more detailed and customized messages at more appropriate locations for motorists.