Thousands of city vehicles will "smarten up" this year after the NYCDOT rolls out a pilot program of new connected vehicle technology. The city agency came to South Ozone Park to showcase the technology involved. NY1's Tanya Klich filed the following report.


The Aqueduct Racetrack in South Ozone Park is known for fast speeds inside the racehorse facility. But on Wednesday, the city’s Department of Transportation turned the Aqueduct parking lot into a high-speed test course.

"It allows us, because of the geometry and dimensions here, to have these maneuvers and to have this vehicle in proper speed," said Mohamad Talas, Deputy Director of Traffic Operations at the NYCDOT.

The agency demonstrated several crash scenarios, like reversing onto a busy road, to unveil a safety program that relies on, what they call “cutting edge technology.”

It’s all part of the USDOT’s Connected Vehicle Pilot Program. Last year, the Federal agency selected New York City to participate.

"The connected vehicle technology, briefly, enables vehicles to communicate with each other and send safety messages to each other," said Talas.

"The goal here is to reduce the number of crashes which is exactly what the Vision Zero program is all about," said Bob Rausch, Vice-President at Transcore, an engineering consulting firm.

With a simple alert, installed devices warn drivers about fast turning vehicles, blind spot detection, collision dangers, speeding, emergency situations and more.

DOT officials say this new technology will be installed in up to 10,000 vehicles within the city starting this September.

That includes more than 7,000 taxis and 1,200 MTA buses, along with fleets from the DOT, Department of Sanitation and private companies like UPS.

The DOT will also install connected devices at red light stops throughout Midtown to remind drivers when to slow down.

"This is really the first time this technology has been moved, brought into a dense urban environment, where we're going to get the opportunity to see how well it does work."

The DOT expects to fully roll out the citywide project over the next three years.