Won't it be nice when our cars overcome our bad driving?

Written by Jon Schmitz on .

Cars communicating with one another to avoid crashes … it’s on the horizon. From the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Nearly 3,000 cars, trucks and buses equipped with “connected” Wi-Fi technology to enable vehicles and infrastructure to “talk” to each other in real time to help avoid crashes and improve traffic flow will begin traversing Ann Arbor’s streets today as part of a year-long safety pilot project by the U.S. Department of Transportation. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood joined elected officials and industry and community leaders on the University of Michigan campus to launch the second phase of the Safety Pilot, the largest road test to date of connected vehicle crash avoidance technology.

“Today is a big moment for automotive safety,” said Secretary LaHood. “This cutting-edge technology offers real promise for improving both the safety and efficiency of our roads. That is a winning combination for drivers across America.”

Conducted by University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), the road test, or model deployment, is a first-of-its-kind test of connected vehicle technology in the real world. The test cars, trucks and buses, most of which have been supplied by volunteer participants, are equipped with vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) communication devices that will gather extensive data about system operability and its effectiveness at reducing crashes.

According to DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), V2V safety technology could help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of four out of five unimpaired vehicle crashes. To accomplish this, the model deployment vehicles will send electronic data messages, receive messages from other equipped vehicles, and translate the data into a warning to the driver during specific hazardous traffic scenarios. Such hazards include an impending collision at a blind intersection, a vehicle changing lanes in another vehicle’s blind spot, or a rear collision with a vehicle stopped ahead, among others.

The full release is here.

An aside that has nothing to do with transportation: The Pirates pay millions of dollars per year to mediocre ballplayers but when it comes to their fans they are incredibly chintzy. Play a between-innings contest akin to "The Price Is Right"'s Plinko game and the grand prize is a $250 Giant Eagle gift card. The mystery giveaways for the baseball quiz are usually gag gifts designed to embarrass the contestants -- when they're not, they're often something autographed by a marginal player who likely won't be here long. The beloved pierogie races used to be accompanied by semientertaining videos -- no more, just a bunch of suited characters running on the warning track. The aura is one of cheapness, through and through. C'mon, Pirates, open up the wallet a little for your fans. Pretend we're catchers who hit .199.

Not only will drivers get a holiday weekend break from much of the ongoing road work, PennDOT plans to reopen Route 65 at the Marshall Avenue interchange on Friday.

Still a few obstacles to deal with before the weekend, though.

Lane closures are possible on the Clairton-Glassport Bridge over the Monongahela River from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday during inspection.

Inspection-related lane closures also are possible on Baum Boulevard at the bridge over the East Busway ramp between Enfield Street in Bloomfield and Melwood Avenue in North Oakland from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

Landslide repair will close McKee Road between Jacks Run Road and Lower Heckman Road in White Oak starting at 7 a.m. next Tuesday around the clock through mid-December.

PennDOT and Pine want to show off plans to improve Route 910 and replace two bridges over Pine Creek. They’ll do so from 4 to 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at Pine Community Center, 100 Pine Park Drive. The public is invited. From PennDOT:

The proposed project will widen and improve approximately 1,610 feet of Route 910 (Wexford Road) from Lyndhurst Circle to west of Pearce Mill Road providing a center left-turn lane and improvements to the Route 910/Pearce Mill Road intersection. The project also includes replacing two bridge structures that carry Route 910 over the North Fork of Pine Creek and a tributary to the North Fork of Pine Creek. The project is tentatively scheduled for construction next year.

PennDOT District 12 has announced a revised schedule for repaving Interstate 79 ramps at Houston/Eighty Four. The northbound on- and off-ramps will be closed at 8 p.m. on the following days: Sept.12, 13, 17, 18, 19 and 20. They will reopen by 6 a.m. the following days.

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