This report describes the road infrastructure, both physical and digital, needed for accommodating CAVs and facilitating their operation.
Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), encompassing private, commercial, and public transit vehicles, have been attracting significant attention from governments over the past few years. Since automotive technology is advancing at a fast pace, most governments are currently working on their readiness plans to accommodate the rapid automotive developments, primarily CAVs, on their roads. The previous AVIN specialized report presented the main technology development areas in CAVs, along with a brief discussion of challenges and key research and development activities in each area.
Although one of the major anticipated gains of having CAVs is reducing the number of on-road fatalities, these smart vehicles require efficient planning and support to avoid encountering negative returns. To be able to safely adopt CAVs and utilize their full potential, governments need first to ensure that road infrastructure, including hardware and software, is ready for use. One of the major challenges to the adoption of CAVs is the unsuitability of the current road infrastructure. Research and development activities have demonstrated that for CAVs to be able to perform their operations safely and efficiently, they need to be surrounded with a compatible physical infrastructure and connected to a resourceful digital infrastructure. For example, roads with unclear or obstructed lane markings and crosswalks cannot be safely driven by CAVs. These road markings should be fixed first and maintained in good order for accurate detection by CAVs. Also, without being able to connect to the road infrastructure, CAVs will only have local road information and limited views of the road network. Connected road infrastructure will significantly add to the safety, accuracy and scope of services offered by and to CAVs.
Motivated by the pressing need for investing in and planning for the enablers of CAVs, this report describes the road infrastructure, both physical and digital, needed for accommodating CAVs and facilitating their operation. We discuss the diverse areas of change and enhancement required to enable future road infrastructure to meet its goals. We conclude the discussion by summarizing the key features of the ideal CAV infrastructure.