Marysville is one of the most connected cities in the world. And by connected, we don’t mean Marysville knows a guy who knows a guy. We mean connected to the 21st century.
To this end, Connected Marysville conducted an open house – or at least an open vehicle – Thursday at the Memorial Health Partners Park Pavilion and invited to public along to see what all the hubbub was about.
As of today, Connected Marysville has placed on-board units and small display screens on several score of city-, county- and school-owned vehicles – many of which were on display in Uptown Marysville today – to keep those vehicles “connected” via roadside radio signals that the city has erected at various locations in the city. This technology allows the vehicle and the roadside units to communicate and, if necessary, alert drivers to possible hazards. These alerts are also relayed to the city, which can then collate the data over a period of time.
The technology is advanced, but the process itself is relatively simple. An onboard unit and GPS are placed in the vehicle, both of which are tuned into the same radio frequencies used by the city’s various “connected” intersections or roadside units. Information is collected and can then be displayed to the driver on a translucent screen about the size of a smart phone which sits on the dashboard just between the steering wheel and windshield. These little displays can alert the driver to a red light at upcoming intersection, pedestrians in the crosswalk and so on. As the technology (and hardwiring) becomes more advanced and widespread, motorists 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 that about 80 city vehicles, sheriff’s cars and school buses have been outfitted with the onboard units, GPS and the heads-up display (HUD) that sits on the dashboard.
Connected Marysville is looking for about 300 more volunteers (its already has 100 spots filled) who will agree to have this technology installed in their vehicle to help the city gather as much information as possible. For those of a conspiratorial mind, these units are not designed nor used to collect information on your bad habits, such as running reds lights, bouncing people out of the crosswalk, monitoring your speed up Maple St., or keeping count to make sure you didn’t catch over the daily limit of crappie. Connect Marysville just wants to see if it’s technology works, and if so, is it practicable.
Mr. Dilsaver said that there is still a long way to go before Honda’s start trash talking each other while racing down U.S. Route 33, but as someone who has worked construction zones on busy streets and highways, he envisions a much safer future should the technology work as planned.
Also present at the Connected Marysville open house today was DriveOhio, which is heavily invested in the NW33 Smart Corridor and The Beta District, as were representatives from the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center. Should this technology catch on, Dr. Rick Smith, Superintendent of the Ohio Hi-Point Career, said that he wants his students to be on the cutting edge and be prepared to make careers out of designing, building, installing and repairing the new technology.
Connected Marysville is still looking for about 300 motorists who would be willing to participate in the research, and those who do can even earn a little scratch for the effort. Visit www.connectedmarysville.com for more information about the programs and how become a volunteer to help collect the data.