Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics

Development, Design, and Calibration of the Vulnerable Road User Mobility Assistance Platform (VRU-MAP)


The objective of this project is to develop a Vulnerable Road User Mobility Assistance Platform (VRU-MAP), a platform designed to assist vulnerable road users (VRUs) in moving through the world. The VRU-MAP will include personalized, proactive, real-time, multimodal information. The personalization and proactivity aspects of the technology are designed to understand and anticipate user needs instead of passively awaiting input. The real-time aspect is designed to provide constant updates about information relevant to user needs, including current weather, traffic, and route considerations. The multimodal aspect is designed to allow whole-trip
planning, including information from the internet (e.g. bus schedules and traffic delays),
predictive information (e.g. likely future traffic conditions) and local-scale connectivity (e.g.
collision warning systems).

The increasing miniaturization, computing power, and intercommunication of modern technology provides novel and powerful opportunities to assist the mobility of VRUs. The VRUMAP will consist of a personalized, integrated platform that will incorporate environmental, infrastructure and connected information with individual needs, conveyed in a usable, flexible format. While we believe that the foundational technology proposed here could benefit all VRUs, we are particularly focused on pedestrians who by virtue of age and/or disability have an increased likelihood of being involved in an injury or fatal crash. 

Phase 1: Concept Development: Development of the VRU-MAP concept focuses on creating a platform that includes personalized, proactive, real-time, multimodal information. Focus groups
will be conducted to determine VRU needs on individual and societal levels while simultaneously examining applicable technology applications. Parameters of the VRU-MAP will be created based on all information gathered. Expert consultation will be included to connect the technologies and parameters together to create a mock-up demonstration of the VRU-MAP to conclude the first phase.
Phases 2 & 3: Interface Design and System Calibration: Phases 2 and 3 will be iterative to support effective system development. Phase 2 will focus on embedding concepts developed in Phase 1 into a platform that transparently incorporates trip information and information about the world into the user’s experience. We also anticipate the conceptualization of alternative displays for the visually impaired, including touch-based or haptic feedback to provide warnings and basic wayfinding information. A key element of Phase 2 is to develop strong system usability and reliability that will enable the user to trust the information being presented. Phase 3 system calibration will provide optimal notifications for VRUs, including exploration of both system/human response lag and the optimal balance of notifications and human information processing ability.

CATM Research Affiliates:
Justin Owens (VTTI: Team Leader)
Andrew Miller (VTTI)
Younho Seong (NC A&T)
Sun Yi (NC A&T)