Connected vehicles enable safe, interoperable networked wireless communications among vehicles, the infrastructure, and passengers’ personal communications devices. The new technology has the potential to transform all aspects of transportation in the US.

In 2005, Caltrans partnered with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the California PATH program at UC Berkeley to create the nation’s first public Connected Vehicle Test Bed on El Camino Real (State Route 82), a signalized arterial roadway that serves more than 50,000 vehicles traveling each day between San Francisco and San Jose.

In 2013, Caltrans and PATH worked with USDOT to update the equipment in the Test Bed so that it now complies with the latest connected vehicle standards and implementation architecture. These improvements were recently used to successfully demonstrate Multi-Modal Intelligent Traffic Signal Systems (MMITSS) and Environmentally-Friendly Driving, two important suites of connected vehicle applications that were developed using USDOT funding.

Based on the success of the Connected Vehicle Test Bed, Caltrans is now planning to expand its size from the current 11 consecutive signalized intersections to 17 intersections and possibly more in the future, depending on funding availability. It is expected that this connected vehicle corridor will serve as a model deployment that can be duplicated on similar corridors in other urban regions of California.

Caltrans is working with PATH to ensure that the Test Bed is available to all developers to test how connected vehicle technologies perform under real-world conditions.