MDOT forms "Smart Belt Coalition" to collaborate on connected/automated vehicle initiatives

Contact: Jeff Cranson, MDOT Director of Communications,
Agency: Transportation

Fast facts:

  • The Smart Belt Coalition is a collaboration in the ongoing development of connected and automated vehicles. 
  • The coalition consists of transportation agencies and academic institutions in Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

January 18, 2017 -- Because partnerships and collaboration will be key to success in ongoing development of connected and automated vehicles, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) will join other states, academic institutions and others to form a Smart Belt Coalition (SBC).

"This initiative highlights the collaboration we know will be necessary as mobility evolves at an exponential pace," said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. "Working closely with our colleagues in neighboring states will pay dividends for all of us while we continue to leverage our existing partnerships with universities and the American Center for Mobility."

The SBC was formed to:

  • Establish a high-profile, high-impact, and long-distance network of transportation innovations in connected automation.
  • Support testing and deployment of various applications of connected and automated vehicles.
  • Operate connected and automated applications on varying terrain during all weather conditions.
  • Validate innovations across a diversity of urban and rural roadways.
  • Share data for research and future deployment of technologies.
  • Provide a forum for key transportation decision-makers.
  • Seek joint funding opportunities for large-scale transportation research and implementation projects.

The SBC membership comprises the following transportation agencies and universities:

Michigan: MDOT, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and the American Center for Mobility.

Ohio: The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, Ohio State University, and the Transportation Research Center.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, and Carnegie Mellon University.

The SBC has met several times in 2016 and will officially formalize their partnership through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in the coming months. Currently, the coalition is preparing a strategic plan, which focuses on connected and automated applications in work zones, traffic incident management and commercial freight.