This project focuses on a type of transportation that is currently left out of V2X conversations: bicycling. The project demonstrates how an inexpensive system can add new functionality to existing signal controllers, giving bicyclists an efficient way to cross a controlled intersection. The system proposed and demonstrated integrates three components:
(1) a Bike Connect box that resides near the signal-controller and is connected to it,
(2) an application that runs on a Bike Connect device (currently an iPhone) and requests a green light at the correct approach-distance, and
(3) a cloud-based publish/subscribe (pub/sub) component that handles communication between phone app and box.
As a separate project we developed a set of video lessons that provide a clear and detailed roadmap for giving students a chance to explore V2X technology and, in the end, produce something that can be used in their own community, i.e., the Bike Connect box. This related project can be referenced at Project Phenom. It contains course topics on: (1) Doing electronic (solderless) breadboarding to connect a modern Internet of Things device, a cellular embedded computer, into the heart of their system. (2) Demonstrating how the embedded computer (a Particle Electron) can easily control relays, which provide the virtual push-button. (3) Packaging up their system into a container that can be placed on a signal pole. (4) Lessons on how to employ C++ and object-oriented programming to control the Electron from the cloud. When completed, a student will have built a key component of the proposed system.
In this project report we will highlight the technology that has allowed us to implement the other 2 components of the system: the Bike Connect device and its application; the pub/sub component that manages communication in the system. We will focus, in particular, on one challenge we faced with the phone application, that of determining an accurate distance measure for a bike rider using our application. With an accurate distance measure, the phone application can calculate when to place a green request as the bike rider approaches the intersection.
The full system was made operational in spring of 2018 and is now in beta testing.