Researchers at the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute are reportedly in the early stages of developing a project to replace physical stop and yield signs at roadway intersections with dashboard screen graphics which will automatically alert the driver of what actions to take.
The the proof-of-concept project – conducted with funding from the US DOT –ties into the institute’s endeavor into connected-vehicle technology, a intranet-like grid system where “smart” vehicles are able to communicate not only with each other, but surrounding infrastructure to help prevent auto crashes and ease congestion.
The concept has not been tested in real traffic environments. However, hours of footage of tests subjects in simulators will be reviewed and compared to that of drivers filmed during naturalistic conditions in separate studies.
“This study was set up to take place in a future where all static traffic control infrastructure, such as stop signs and yield signs, are no longer needed, and you have an adaptable in-vehicle display telling you when you need to stop and when a stop is unnecessary,” said Alexandria Noble, a master’s student with the Virginia Tech Charles E. Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, who is spearheading the project.
She said such a deployment of this technology in the real world would involve overhaul of the transportation system and is therefore not likely to become a reality in the near future, if at all.
“However, this study will be useful in developing future connected-vehicle applications in a general sense and demonstrates that this is possible and how well it is received by naive drivers with minimal training on the subject.”
The reasoning behind the concept is that roadside stop and yield signs are often overlooked or ignored. Physical signs also are costly and require maintenance. Other traffic signs also only have limited or seasonal use, according to researchers.