This piece was originally published in the May/June 2019 issue of electroindustry.
NEMA Helps Drive Transportation Innovation
Advancements in electric vehicles are taking off. Manufacturers are producing vehicles in larger numbers, and the cost of their batteries is quickly going down. Meanwhile, population growth, traffic congestion, and the need for infrastructure fixes will motivate the manufacturing of smarter infrastructure systems and devices.
But electric vehicles are a fraction of a global movement toward connecting our transportation fleet. We know the future of transportation is connected, electric and—within not too many years—autonomous. But how do we make sure that our infrastructure and its control devices are ready when that future becomes present? What can we do with electrification and digitalization now to mitigate today’s real traffic issues?
To start, NEMA Member companies make traffic control systems and devices and assist with developing related Standards and guidelines.
NEMA also has product Sections that support electrified transportation, including the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment/Systems Section. The Section’s scope includes communication and software for EVSE and dc charging systems. The Transportation Management Systems and Associated Control Devices Section scope includes items that assist Intelligent Transportation Systems, including products that support integrated transportation management and control systems (signals, traffic controllers, communications devices and systems, software and firmware, and more).
“To be successful, connected vehicle infrastructure must be interoperable, future proof, reliable, and maintainable by local agencies,” Bryan Mulligan, NEMA Transportation Management Systems and Associated Control Devices Section Chairman and President of Applied Information, Inc., said in a NEMA press release.
NEMA supports the development of Standards that will connect autonomous vehicles with highway infrastructure, including how Traffic Management Centers connect, communicate, and share data with other vehicles and evolving networks of roadside devices. Also, NEMA formed the Connected Vehicle Infrastructure Technical Committee (CVIT) to develop consistent technical requirements for connected vehicles and other roadside devices. These include NEMA Standards for traffic signals, school zone beacons, pedestrian crossings, and other electronic devices that control the movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the nation’s roadways.
Investments in infrastructure—and new state and federal laws—are needed now. That is why NEMA supports the effort by Senator Tom Carper to build an electric vehicle charging infrastructure with his Clean Corridors Act (See “Give the Green Light to Electric Vehicle Infrastructure”).
NEMA Standards, advocacy and business analytics efforts will be important to driving transportation into the future . . . a future that will arrive faster than we think. ei
Kevin J. Cosgriff
NEMA President and CEO