I-24 MOTION: A new instrument for traffic science

Nov 12, 2023
I-24 MOTION: A new instrument for traffic science

The Tennessee Department of Transportation’s I-24 Mobility Technology Interstate Observation Network (MOTION) is a four-mile section of I-24 in the Nashville-Davidson County Metropolitan area with 294 ultra-high definition cameras. Those images are converted into a digital model of how every vehicle behaves with unparalleled detail. This is all done anonymously using Artificial Intelligence (AI) trajectory algorithms developed by Vanderbilt University.

Vehicle trajectory data allows us to uncover new insights into how traffic flow influences individual vehicle behavior. This groundbreaking understanding of traffic is more important than ever due to the increasing automation capability of individual vehicles, which are beginning to influence traffic flow through their interactions with conventional vehicles. By unlocking a new understanding of how these vehicles influence traffic, vehicle and infrastructure design can be optimized to reduce traffic concerns in the future to improve safety, air quality, and fuel efficiency.

The purpose of I-24 MOTION is to provide an environment for testing advanced traffic management and automated vehicle technologies in real freeway traffic. Automakers and suppliers are investing billions of dollars in adding connectivity and automation features to vehicles, forever changing safety and mobility. These technologies are often developed in the laboratory or closed-course settings. Testing in traffic captures the variability of real-world conditions and human behavior. Complementary congestion management technologies are being installed by TDOT along this same section of interstate as part of the I-24 SMART Corridor project. Read more about the I-24 MOTION project from TDOT.

Using the information gathered on this testbed, I-24 MOTION will provide insights to allow the industry to build better products and allow TDOT to better understand how to make the most out of these products for managing infrastructure assets. The first testbed user is the U.S. Department of Energy’s sponsored research with the CIRCLES Consortium, which is studying the possibility of smoothing traffic by introducing vehicles equipped with advanced driver-assist systems.

alt textThe poles tower more than 100 feet high and are equipped with at least six high definition cameras. The roughly 300 video feeds will provide researchers with data about how vehicles interact with each other on the road.