Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority (THEA) is moving to the next stage in testing and implementing connected vehicle technology in Tampa with four auto manufacturers on board.
THEA is recruiting volunteer drivers who drive a Honda, Acura, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota for the THEA Connected Vehicle Pilot. This research project has the potential to improve driving safety in downtown Tampa and beyond. Eligible participating drivers receive up to a 30 percent rebate for tolls on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway.
In this phase, THEA expects to equip approximately 300 privately owned automobiles with connected vehicle technology by late 2022. Volunteers’ automobiles will be outfitted with devices that “talk” to other connected vehicles and to roadway infrastructure to help prevent crashes.
Volunteers can experience the benefits of connected vehicle technology in several ways. For example, the seven new applications currently being tested and deployed in Tampa are:
- Forward collision warning
- Emergency electronic brake light warning
- Intersection movement assist
- Wrong-way entry
- Pedestrian collision warning
- Ramp deceleration warning
- Red light violation warning
Because the THEA CV Pilot is a research project, drivers must meet certain criteria in order to participate. For example, they must be 18 years of age or older, have a Florida driver’s license, own either a Honda, Acura, Hyundai, Kia or Toyota, and drive regularly on the Selmon Expressway or in the downtown deployment area.
Prospective participants must take the online prescreening questionnaire at theacvpilot.com/2021-survey/ to determine whether they are eligible.
After confirming their eligibility, prospective participants will schedule an appointment for equipment installation and training.
Qualified technicians will install the equipment into Hyundai, Kia and Toyota vehicles by appointment at the THEA CV Pilot Facility, 215 S. 78th St., Tampa, FL 33619, Honda drivers will be at Brandon Honda located at 9209 E. Adamo Dr. Tampa, FL 33619 and Acura drivers will be at Maus Acura at 11025 N. Florida Ave. Tampa, FL 33612.
The equipment is free, and participating drivers will receive up to a 30 percent toll rebate for travel on the Selmon Expressway, up to a maximum of $550. The THEA CV Pilot Phase 4 will conclude in late 2022.
The THEA CV Pilot aims to demonstrate the safety, mobility, and environmental benefits of connected vehicle technology. Tampa is one of just three sites deploying the technology as part of the US Department of Transportation’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Deployment Program.
The other two sites are New York City and the Interstate 80 corridor in the state of Wyoming. The Tampa project is the only one that involves local residents driving their own cars.
THEA’s partners on the $21 million project include the US Department of Transportation, the Florida Department of Transportation, the City of Tampa, University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research, Hillsborough Community College, HNTB Corporation, Siemens, Global-5 Communications and Brandmotion.
Tampa area residents who are interested in participating as drivers or pedestrians are encouraged to take the pre-screening questionnaire online at theacvpilot.com/2021-survey/.