Construction bids are being sought for the last step in infrastructure additions to the U.S. Route 33 Smart Mobility Corridor to ready it for smart- vehicle testing.

Work could begin this summer or fall and conclude in spring 2020, said Luke Stedke, managing director for communications with Drive Ohio. The work shouldn't require any lane closures, he said.

The corridor begins in Dublin and runs west through Marysville, ending at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Stedke said.

The goal of the smart corridor, he said, is to provide an ecosystem to researchers to bring technology from the testing work bench to the real world.

"All of our work," he said, "is going to make Ohio roadways safer."

Dublin and its Council of Government partners, which include the city of Marysville, Union County and the Union County Port Authority, continue to work together, along with the Ohio Department of Transportation and DriveOhio, to advance infrastructure improvements along the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor, said Megan O'Callaghan, Dublin's public-works director.

Through the partnerships, the fiber-optic backbone has been deployed between Dublin and East Liberty, she said. The next phase will build on that backbone, installing poles, electrical infrastructure, fiber service lines and dedicated short-range communications roadside units.

"The advancement of the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor would not be possible if it weren't for the continued collaboration of these regional partners," she said.

The final piece of the project includes adding utility poles and hardware to enable communications technology, such as from vehicle to infrastructure, vehicle to vehicle and infrastructure to vehicle, Stedke said.

Those types of capabilities would allow, for example, a vehicle equipped with smart technology to send a message about a pothole in a roadway to a data hub that could be accessed by the Ohio Department of Transportation, Stedke said. Or ODOT could let cars equipped with smart technology know about ice on a roadway.

Such capabilities are being tested. For example, a technology demonstration by Honda Research & Development in Marysville at the intersection of Fifth Street and Main Street used video-camera analytics and a roadside unit communicating with an on-board unit within a vehicle, Stedke said.

Roadside units – access points for communications technology – planned for U.S. Route 33 will use dedicated short-range communication to connect with the on-board units on vehicles, Stedke said. DSRC uses the 5.9 GHz wireless spectrum for safety communications and enables high-speed, low-latency communications between the infrastructure and vehicles.

Standard highway light poles will be adapted to place roadside units along Route 33, Stedke said.

Each pole will have an ITS cabinet for housing connections for data communications and power as well as housing the necessary network switches and processing units for the roadside units, he said.

Those roadside units will go in 61 locations along the 35-mile stretch of Route 33, Stedke said.

Exact locations will depend on topography, soil conditions and position relative to the roadway itself.

These 61 sites will create a continuously connected corridor to test a variety of safety applications to help drivers avoid collisions and pedestrians in crosswalks or alert them to curves in a roadway, reduced speed zones or lane closures, he said.

Dublin is extending smart vehicle testing from Route 33 to city streets and intersections to collect data to improve safety and offer improved solutions to move people and goods, said Dublin City Manager Dana McDaniel.

"Thanks to the U.S. Department of Transportation $5.9 million grant for the installation of dedicated short-range communications and investment by the state of Ohio in fiber optics along U.S. 33 between Dublin, Marysville and East Liberty, Ohio, the home to the Transportation Research Center, this stretch of highway will become the nation's playground for controlled testing of connected and automated vehicles and other advancements in mobility," McDaniel said.

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