Ad hoc Peer to Peer Information Technology for Traffic Networks

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Autonet: An Ad hoc Peer-to-Peer Information Technology for Traffic Networks

M. G. McNally <>
W. W. Recker <>
R. Jayakrishnan <>
Craig Rindt <>
James Marca <>

Institute of Transportation Studies and
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of California Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-3600 USA

Autonet is an interoperable Information Technology infrastructure featuring a mobile, ad-hoc, dynamic, peer-to-peer network integrating personal, fleet, and public transportation vehicles, information, and communication systems, and fixed transportation infrastructure to attain a comprehensive distributed transportation management system.

A project of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and ITS, Irvine. [ CalIT2 Brochure ]

Autonet Research Vision -- Transportation Application Focus

To develop and implement an interoperable Information Technology infrastructure featuring a mobile, ad-hoc, dynamic, peer-to-peer network, integrating personal, fleet, and public transportation vehicles, information and communication systems, and fixed transportation infrastructure to attain a comprehensive distributed transportation management system to achieve the following goals:

1. Distributed Transportation Systems Management
Integrating micro-level management, focused on individual vehicle information systems (such as OnStar) and macro-level management, focused on systems level management and control of corridor or regional traffic flow patterns (such as conventional agency or operator transportation systems management), with meso-level management featuring vehicle-to-vehicle information exchange to address the interoperability of the micro and macro levels, to address public objectives involving recurrent operational issues of flow efficiency and safety, concurrent incident management, non-recurrent event traffic management, and disaster management and response, and simultaneously address private objectives involving commercial applications of distributed IT in both mobile and non-mobile markets.

Both the public and private objectives can address information regarding vehicle safety (flow within and downstream of a vehicle peer group), vehicle performance (optimal speed/acceleration profiles), vehicle routing (lane changing, real-time traffic information, directional information, destination choices), fleet management (public safety, delivery, and public transit vehicles), corridor and regional transportation flows. Extensions to planning and forecasting considerations, particularly for urban evacuation and other disaster applications (but also for conventional regional transportation forecasting in a manner compatible with the federal TRANSIMS program).

2. Distributed Environmental Sensing
In addition to the sensing requirements of Distributed Transportation Systems Management, the mobile PTP network will provide distributed sensing of environmental attributes, including conventional vehicle emissions (CO2, NOX, particulates) as well as any other airborne contaminants on a spot, corridor, or regional basis.

3. Distributed Computing Platform
Beyond the computing requirements of Distributed Transportation Systems Management and Distributed Environmental Sensing, the mobile PTP network provides a mobile ad-hoc computing platform for a range of transportation-related commercial applications.

4. Distributed Transportation Mobility
The UCI Zero Emission Vehicle Network Enable Transportation (ZEVNET) system will serve as a real-world laboratory for the development and implementation of attendant communication/information technologies, although the concepts proposed are certainly not restricted to alternative-power vehicles. ZEVNET does, however, provide a new transportation component of a distributed mobility transportation system (see below).

This new system hold potentially significant impacts on current transportation patterns, in addition to the economic impacts of system deployment and operation. This distributed transportation system will directly impact both private and public vehicle use patterns, with ramifications on automobile ownership patterns (individual versus fleet, own versus lease, conventional versus alternate-powered vehicles, total number of vehicles, etc.), residential and business location decisions, public transportation operations, and patterns of travel behavior in general. As a general guide, the goal is providing accessibility and mobility by managing congestion in an expanding economy rather than a narrow and perhaps unachievable objective of congestion reduction.

5. Distributed Power Generation
With the UCI Zero Emission Vehicle Network Enable Transportation (ZEVNET) system serving as a real-world laboratory, the concept of distributed power generation and distribution is integrated within the vision statement. The initial fleet comprising fifty electric vehicles will be provided dedicated parking at the Irvine Transportation Center (a multi-modal transportation terminal) including chargers powered by a fuel cell and photo-voltaic generation. Planned implementation of fuel cells at individual corporate locations provide high quality, low or zero emission power to both vehicles and the associated infrastructure. Eventual conversion of line-haul rail transportation to electric power further addresses energy efficiency and associated air quality impacts. In general, distributed power generation provides high quality, extremely efficient, and secure power to users (with excess power directed to the grid).

6. A Distributed Cost Model
The hybrid nature of the proposed system benefits from a cost perspective. Corporations and drivers participating in ZEVNET will pay for access to the vehicle fleet. General users of Autonet would pay for the necessary in-vehicle technology (whether as original equipment in the vehicle or through after-market installation). The degree that they would be willing to pay is a function of the benefits they would receive. Since every participant would be both providing and receiving information, there might be no additional cost beyond equipment purchase for acquiring (and also providing) general traffic performance information (acquiring system traffic information while providing vehicle location and speed). Use of vehicle proximity and performance information for safety-related management (including incident prevention/avoidance) would be part of the functionality of the associated technology. Requirements on the system level (for example, public agencies or private transportation operators) would be a necessary public (or private) expense, as it is now. Opportunities for commercial use of the resulting IT may provide subsidies to either individual, corporate, or public participants.

ZEVNET Testbed: A Shared-Use Station Car Corporate Model

ZEVNET is designed as a Shared-Use Station Car Corporate Model. Participation in the program will initially be limited to drivers employed by companies who first choose to join the ZEVNET program, and membership which will provide a number of program vehicles to the company. During the course of the business day, vehicles perform in a shared-use mode, serving the needs of individual participating corporations (or pools of corporations, for example, in a research park), providing local-area mobility. While the vehicles could be directly used in daily commuting from home to work, priority is given to drivers who use the vehicles as access to other modes, such as driving to a rail station. ZEVNET is directed toward identifying demand patterns where vehicles which are left at stations after work are picked up by other commuters, returning via rail from work, for the last commuting leg home. The vehicle would then be available to that commuter in the evening or on weekends, and would be used in the return trip to the station the next working day. The commuter who leaves the vehicle at the station and then leaves the area via rail would ideally arrive at their final destination and pick up another ZEVNET vehicle for their final commute leg (a vehicle which ideally would have been used during the day in the same manner as the first vehicle). In addition to the initial ZEVNET vehicle fleet, a second fleet of 25 electric vehicles is available in Riverside (a 60 mile, high volume, commuting corridor) as part of the IntelliShare program developed by the University of California, Riverside Center for Environmental Research and Technology.

The ZEVNET system provides distributed mobility via the distributed use of vehicles, and represents a unique application of an emerging movement toward shared-use vehicles and station car programs. This system combines the positive benefits of public modes in line-haul commuting with the superior benefits of the automobile for local accessibility, while eliminating the negative aspects of public modes (poor accessibility) and of automobiles (high cost and inefficient performance in congested environments, and redundant parking demands).

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The Cure

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[ last revised 11 august 2002 ]