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Applications for the Environment Real-Time Synthesis Broad Agency Announcement Project: Assessment of Data and Modeling Opportunities for Heavy Trucks

Project Information

Project ID: 
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
Thursday, September 23, 2010
End Date: 
Friday, September 30, 2011
FHWA Program: 
Operations, Intelligent Transportation Systems
TRT Terms: 
Environment; Energy; Emissions; Greenhouse Gases; Intelligent Transportation Systems; Operations; Research; Highway Traffic Control; On Ramps; Heavy Duty Trucks
FHWA Discipline: 
Subject Area: 
Environment, Operations and Traffic Management, Research

Contact Information

First Name: 
(202) 493-3045
Email Address: 
Program Management
Office of Operations Research and Development
Office Code: 

Project Details

Project Abstract: 

The Electronic Control Units (ECU) data of heavy-duty trucks (HDT) can be accessed through the industry standard Society of Automobile Engineers (SAE) J1939 data bus. Many fleet owners have equipped their truck fleets with onboard devices that couple ECU with telematics capabilities where vehicle and engine operating parameters, as well as positioning information (i.e. via a Global Positioning System (GPS)), are wirelessly transmitted to a computer server on a periodic basis. Through partnership with these fleet owners, the research team has created a master database that gathers and aggregates these ECU data that can be used in real-time applications to evaluate and improve the performance of transportation systems, especially those related to freight movement. This project has been chartered to investigate how broader data types from a vehicle’s data bus might be collected and what value these data types might have in studies of the environmental issues associated with highway transportation and in the development of advanced applications to manage these issues.


The key project objective is data collected in real time from the data bus on trucks can be used to generate environmentally relevant measures of performance.

Project Outputs: 

The integration of near real-time efficiency and emissions data into a connected vehicle system will likely take a decade to mature. While the industry is working to achieve this goal, it may be prudent to consider non real-time applications of the information for planning activities. One such application may be using the fuel consumption and emissions generation data as a measure that helps to prioritize the planning of reconstruction or capacity improvements in the system. For instance, it is altogether possible that we will be able to identify sections of the highway system, such as an onramp/acceleration lane that forces the drivers to push the limits of their vehicles, causing an inordinate consumption of fuel and production of emissions. A carbon trading approach to reconstruction efforts very well may move the reconstruction of such an onramp forward on the U.S. Department of Transportation's calendar. Up until now, the data necessary to direct the operation or planning of the transportation system based on environmental concerns has been very difficult to obtain. As a result, little work has been done on establishing the uses of fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) production data. The project team recommends the establishment of a research program to explore other innovative applications that can benefit the environment under the Applications for the Environment: Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS) program.