MDOT, RCOC, and 3M partner on permanent smart sign installation in Oakland County

Contact: Rob Morosi, MDOT Office of Communications, 248-483-5107
Agency: Transportation

December 14, 2018 -- The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), and 3M today announced the permanent installation of nine road signs in Oakland County that utilize connected vehicle technology.

"We are grateful to the 3M Corp. for continuing this successful partnership with Michigan road agencies," said State Transportation Director Mark Van Port Fleet. "Michigan is globally recognized as the leader in connected and automated vehicle research and technology, and this decision by 3M confirms our commitment to remaining at the forefront."

Using technology from 3M, the signs will enable connected and automated vehicles to interpret the message generated from embedded technology in the signs that is not visible to the human eye. These regulatory and advanced warning signs look exactly like other standard highway and roadway signs, conveying information to the human driver.

The signs were placed in Auburn Hills along I-75, M-59, and Opdyke Road. This area was chosen based on several factors, including freeway-to-freeway interchange movements, traffic volumes, and proximity to major auto suppliers and advanced auto research and development operations. Two additional signs are expected to be installed in 2019.

"This type of project is very important for the continued advancement of connected vehicle technology," said RCOC Managing Director Dennis Kolar. "It also demonstrates that RCOC, in partnership with MDOT and 3M, continues to lead the way for local road agencies to bring these technologies to Michigan's local roads."

Building on the success of the 2017 MDOT/3M pilot project to equip the nation's first connected work zone within the I-75 modernization project in Oakland County, this permanent installation allows for year-round testing.

As vehicles become increasingly automated and connected, existing infrastructure should be updated to ensure the safety and reliability of this emerging technology. Infrastructure should be designed and implemented to pave the way for the data-driven environment of the cars and roadways of tomorrow. This testing in Southeast Michigan will help define standards to be used in the future, and requires an open eco-system allowing industry and government to partner on advancing this technology. This is happening in Michigan now.   

"3M is excited to continue our efforts working with Michigan road authorities," said Dr. Andrew Dubner, 3M Connected Roads program leader. "We are designing roadway solutions that support both the traditional needs of a human driver and the needs of connected and automated vehicles to help ensure safety is not compromised during this long-term transition to autonomous driving."

Below is a link to 3M testing of the signs during prep work on segment one of the I-75 modernization project.