Marysville is one of the most connected cities in the world. And by connection, we don’t mean Marysville knows a guy who knows a guy. We mean connecting with the 21st century.
To that end, Connected Marysville held an open house — or at least an open vehicle — Thursday at the Memorial Health Partners Park Pavilion and invited the public to come see what all the fuss is about.
Starting today, Connected Marysville installed embedded devices and small displays in several city, county and school-owned vehicles, many of which were on display in uptown Marysville today, to “connect” those vehicles via roadside radio signals the city has placed in various parts of the city. This technology allows the vehicle and roadside units to communicate and, if necessary, warn drivers of potential hazards. These alerts are also transmitted to the city, which can then compare the data over time.
The technology is advanced, but the process itself is quite simple. The vehicle is equipped with an on-board unit and GPS, both of which are tuned to the same radio frequencies used by the various “connected” intersections or roads in the city. The information is collected and can be displayed to the driver on a transparent screen about the size of a smartphone, which is located on the dashboard between the steering wheel and the windshield. These small screens can warn the driver about a red light at an upcoming intersection, pedestrians in a crosswalk, etc. As technology (and wiring) improves and becomes more widespread, drivers in “connected” vehicles will be alerted to work zones, detours, traffic jams and the like in real time.
Marc Dilsaver, mobility and construction manager for the city of Marysville, said about 80 city vehicles, sheriff’s cars and school buses, have been equipped with on-board devices, GPS and a head-up display (HUD) in the dashboard.
Connected Marysville is looking for about 300 more volunteers (it already has 100 spots filled) to agree to have the technology installed in their vehicle to help the city gather as much information as possible. For the conspiracy minded, these devices are not designed or used to collect information about your bad habits, like running red lights, running people over at crosswalks, speeding on Maple St. or count to make sure you’re not over your daily limit. Connect Marysville just wants to see if this technology works, and if so, if it’s possible.
Mr. Dilsaver said there’s still a long way to go before Honda can talk to each other while racing on U.S. 33, but as someone who has worked in construction zones on busy streets and highways, he envisions a much safer future if the technology works as planned.
Today’s Connected Marysville open house was also attended by representatives from DriveOhio, which is investing heavily in the NW33 Smart Corridor and The Beta District, as well as representatives from the Ohio High Points Career Center. Dr. Rick Smith, Ohio High’s career director, said he wants his students to be on the cutting edge and ready for careers designing, building, installing and repairing new technologies. .
Connected Marysville is still looking for about 300 drivers to participate in the study, and those who do may even earn a little money for their efforts. Visit www.connectedmarysville.com for more information about programs and how to volunteer to help with data collection.