Enhancing Safety and Accessibility for Active Users at Signalized Intersections under the Signal Phasing and Timing (SPaT) Challenge

To encourage the adoption/study of connected vehicle (CV) applications across the country, the National Operations Center for Excellence initiated a program called the Signal Phasing and Timing (SPaT) Challenge. Under this program, departments of transportation in all 50 states were encouraged to equip at least 20 signalized intersections with radio equipment capable of broadcasting SPaT information and other CV messages via Dedicated Short Range [Radio] Communications (DSRC, the CV communications standard). While this project has obvious benefits for drivers (e.g., eco-driving, route optimization), it and many other projects focusing on CV technologies often ignore pedestrians and other active road users. As such, the Smart Transportation Applications and Research (STAR) Lab at the University of Washington initiated a project co-sponsored by Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) (who is taking part in the SPaT Challenge) where the lab is working to develop an application (app) for use on mobile devices. This app can (1) present SPaT data to active road users and (2) allow such users to actuate pedestrian crossing signals at intersections equipped for the SPaT challenge via the app (i.e., the app has a virtual “pushbutton”). Thus, this project extends benefits of a CV environment to active road users and further increases their accessibility, especially in the case of groups for whom activating a pushbutton to cross an intersection may pose a challenge (e.g., wheelchair users). For this small project, the research team hopes to extend the applications of the aforementioned project with WSDOT to further enhance accessibility and safety for active users, especially those with disabilities. To do this, the team proposes the following enhancements to the currently-funded project including (1) using sensors with video-based detection developed by the STAR Lab to detect active users waiting to make a crossing and ensure the pedestrian signal is actuated, (2) detect such users when they are in the crosswalk in order to alert drivers of their presence via an app and potentially extend the crossing phase. These objectives have the potential to make intersection crossings even safer and easier for active users, and they also extend more benefits of a CV environment to such users.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $80000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium

    University of Washington
    More Hall Room 112
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    University of Washington, Seattle

    Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
    201 More Hall, Box 352700
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700
  • Project Managers:

    Wang, Yinhai

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Washington, Seattle

    Civil and Environmental Engineering Department
    201 More Hall, Box 352700
    Seattle, WA  United States  98195-2700
  • Principal Investigators:

    Wang, Yinhai

  • Start Date: 20210316
  • Expected Completion Date: 20221231
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01784890
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: 69A355174110
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2021 8:05AM