Roadside Units (RSUs)

Big things have been coming to Macomb County. Over the past few months, debates have raged about deploying Connected Vehicle (CV) technology at intersections. When experts finally settled on installing Roadside Units (RSUs) at every stoplight, Rauhorn Electric was there.

Rauhorn Electric was the Electrical Contractor and integrator on Phases 2 and 3 of the Macomb County RSU deployment projects. As part of the development team, Rauhorn Electric deployed 361 Roadside Units that are currently broadcasting Travel Information Messages, MAP intersection geometry messages, and the SPaT (Signal Phasing and Timing) information to all vehicles and devices on approach to the intersection. The roadside units are integrated into Macomb County’s network infrastructure to allow for remote access and management. These Roadside units were upgraded to dual capability with DSRC and C-V2X equipment and radios.

What is an RSU?

While exciting news for us here at Rauhorn, it begs the question, “What is an RSU?” A Roadside unit is any DSRC transceiver mounted in areas where people are commonly expected to navigate, such as a road. To function correctly, they must remain stationary because their sensing zone is static. These units collect data about traffic at the point at which they are situated. 

Their methods of information acquisition are uniquely clever. For example, one strategy, called “triangulation,” involves sensing mobile phones in cars instead of the cars themselves to help pinpoint exactly where people are. Other methods have the RSU track the amount of time a specific device in a vehicle, such as a Bluetooth-powered device, spends on the unit’s designated amount of road. Collecting data from equipment in the car, as opposed to from the car itself, can provide more specific and reliable insight into the traffic experience of individuals.

RSUs are also capable of wifi detection. This means that the transceivers can monitor traffic flow between units with a wifi signal (i.e., cars with cell phones powered on somewhere inside). If the RSU discovers that traffic amongst these units is higher than expected at a particular time, it lets COMTEC know that some timing adjustments may be necessary.

Using this Information

These bits of information can be helpful in several ways. The transceivers in RSUs can update back-office workers in real-time on everything happening in their designated spot. Understanding traffic flow in a specific area can inform transportation authorities when a change needs to be made, such as a new traffic light sensor installation.

The future for RSUs looks bright, as well. Developers hope that utilization of RSUs down the line will allow bus drivers and regular commuters alike to get a clear understanding of real-time traffic conditions. 

For more information about Rauhorn Electric’s projects, and to request a quote for your next undertaking, visit our website.

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