Central State Corridor Becomes Testbed for Autonomous, Connected Tech

July 26, 2018

While Columbus efforts as winner of the Smart City competition have garnered much attention, another smart mobility project based in Central Ohio has moved into the fast lane by ramping up autonomous and connected vehicle demonstration projects. The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor is centered around a 35-mile stretch of U.S. 33 corridor beginning in Dublin through Marysville, and continuing to East Liberty, Ohio in the northwest portion of the Central Ohio region. The Corridor is serving as a test bed for real world demonstrations of a range of connected vehicle technologies.

“The 33 Smart Mobility Corridor Project has been a tremendous collaboration among diverse stakeholders from all levels of government, industry, and academia,” said Terry Emery, President of Northwest 33 Innovation Corridor Council of Governments. “This collaboration is producing practical demonstrations of cutting edge transportation and communications technologies that will support economic development, safety and enhanced mobility for everyone.”

The Corridor is serving as a test bed for real world demonstrations of a range of connected vehicle technologies.

The 33 Corridor project was initially launched a few years ago with a $5.9 million award from U.S. Department of Transportation. State and local governments and private partners have added substantial additional investments. Partners include the Ohio Department of Transportation’s Drive Ohio program, cities of Dublin and Marysville, Union County, Honda of America, The Ohio State University, Battelle, USDOT, FHWA and several others.

The project backbone is installation of a robust fiber-optic network with data sensors along the entire 35-mile corridor. Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) or drones are being deployed to enhance monitoring capabilities. Complementary projects planned and envisioned include Connected Marysville, the 33 Innovation Park, a truck platooning project, advanced fleet vehicles for Union County, Dublin and Marysville, and much more.

A spirit of innovation and collaboration are driving the project and will be the key to lessons learned. It is large enough with a big enough budget to make an impact, yet small and streamlined enough to avoid getting bogged down in bureaucracy. The idea is to create capacities for rich data collection, then to try things so researchers and designers can learn and improve. The beneficiaries will be individual motorists and the logistics industry as the transportation system becomes safer, more efficient and more responsive to user needs.

A great opportunity for everyone to learn more about the 33 Smart Mobility Corridor and Ohio’s other smart mobility initiatives will be the Midwest Green Fleets Forum and Expo in Columbus on September 24-25 at the Marriott University area. Doug McCollough, Chief Information Officer for City of Dublin, will deliver remarks at a plenary session on the 25th. Attendees also will be able to attend a 90-minute panel on the 26th that includes project leaders from Marysville, Dublin and Union County. Jim Barna, Director of Drive Ohio is featured on a separate panel focused on autonomous vehicles.