TRCLC 16-6

Vehicle-to-Device (V2D) Communications:  Readiness of the Technology and Potential Applications for People with Disability

PIs: Ala Al-Fuqaha, Jun-Seok Oh, Valerian Kwigizile

Project Start and End Dates: 9/1/2016 – 12/31/2017


The goal of this research is to conduct extensive simulation and experimental studies to assess the efficacies of utilizing D2D communications technologies in transportation scenarios focused around pedestrians and bicyclists. Specifically, we design, develop, and experiment with Smart Cone and Smart Cane systems to evaluate the readiness of D2D technologies to support transportation applications.


This research is focused on assessing the suitability of D2D technologies for transportation applications. Specifically, we focus on two case studies:

  • Smart Cone

Often, work zones on highways require entering vehicles to reduce their speeds and make lane changes because of lane closures. At this time, traffic congestion and conflicts are caused by driver maneuvering at work zones and nearby highways sections. In this paper, we address traffic management strategies that utilize D2D communications to resolve this problem at work zones.

  • Smart Cane

Blind and visually impaired pedestrians have limited mobility options, and they rely heavily on walking and transit for their transportation needs. One of the major issues for these pedestrians is crossing intersections. Accessible Pedestrian Signal (APS), as a mean of helping their intersection crossings, was introduced in the United States as early as 1920. The most recent type of APS is the beaconing APS which has shown improvements in road crossing abilities for blind pedestrians although it has many drawbacks. This study developed a cane to enhance safety and crossing abilities of visually impaired pedestrians at intersections.

Research Results:
The research results are twofold:
  • Smart Cone

Highway work zones reduce highway capacities and often lead to severe traffic congestions and crashes. Therefore, there is a need for traffic management systems that strive to adjust the traffic condition at work zones. This study introduces the smart cone system which actively delivers traffic information and recommendations for driving maneuvers to drivers at work zones. This system is based on the collection of real-time traffic data about nearby road segments. Based on the traffic condition inferred from the collected data, the system intelligently produces recommendations on driving maneuvers to mitigate the long-term negative impacts of the work zone. The proposed smart cone system can help in enhancing the traffic conditions in terms of operational efficiency and traffic safety at work zones.

In addition, the performance of the proposed smart cone system is evaluated through systematic simulation studies. A microscopic simulation model is designed and is used to assess the impact of the smart cone system under various traffic flows. The VISSIM-COM interface is utilized for realizing this system. Results show that the smart cone system can significantly enhance the traffic conditions at work zones. The proposed system artificially induces speed reductions and lane changes before queues build up significantly at work zones. Furthermore, higher adoption rates lead to enhanced operational efficiencies. Therefore, the system should be promoted to the public to enhance its operational efficiency when it is deployed.
  • Smart Cane
The purpose of this study is to ease the process of crossing and improve safety at intersections by aiding BVI pedestrians in maintaining heading. Furthermore, complete crossing successfully and within the crosswalk, decrease crossing time, increase independence on other cues while crossing and increase self-confidence for the BVI.
The Smart-Cane is comprised of the veering adjustment system; the basic function of this system is to minimize veering behaviors of BVI pedestrians as much as possible.
The experimentation phase of this research was divided into two stages; the first stage included experimentation with 32 sighted participants, and the second stage was conducted with 10 BVI participants.
The Smart-Cane proved more preference over APS. The error calculations proved that the veering tendency of participants decreased significantly while using the Smart-Cane. The participants also maintained their heading and did not veer outside of the crosswalk all the time when using the Smart-Cane. The results of the pre-survey showed that the intersection information, which is sometimes unavailable, is very important to BVI pedestrians while crossing. The Smart-Cane provided missing information that BVI pedestrians might need to complete crossing safely, giving them more perception of the intersection they are about to cross. Taking a look at the post-survey, BVI overall satisfaction of the Smart-Cane was great and expressed willingness to adopt such technology. The Smart-Cane also proved that it decreased BVI pedestrian dependence on other cues and increased their self-confidence while crossing.
The Smart-Cane is in line with Connected Vehicles technology and Smart-Cities. The Smart-Cane with D2I, I2V and D2V communications improves BVI pedestrians’ safety by providing them with intersection information (location, type, name, geometry, etc.), through alerting drivers of the BVI pedestrians presence and providing and increasing the green time allocated to the crossing.