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National Transportation Center


The SMART Intersection

The SMART Intersection uses advanced Lidar and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication technology to make city streets safer and more efficient. These technologies work in tandem to sense vehicles and pedestrians as they approach the intersection. This information is then processed and shared with vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure through various audio and visual cues. By enabling real-time, dynamic messaging between vehicles, pedestrians, and urban infrastructure, the SMART Intersection reduces the risk of collisions and eases traffic flow.  

This technology also provides critical data for urban planners by identifying hotspots for collisions and jaywalking, allowing for targeted traffic calming measures to be implemented over time. Future iterations will allow city bus services to make use of traffic signal priority, thus reducing wait times and improving transit reliability.

Equipped with on-board units, transit vehicles can request green lights at SMART Intersections, reducing wait times and ensuring adherence to schedules. This prioritization enhances the efficiency of public transport, leading to fewer stops missed and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, the technology is used for traffic signal preemption by emergency vehicles. This grants first responders the highest priority to expedite their transit, reducing response times and enhancing public safety.

Two SMART intersections currently exist on Morgan State University’s Campus along Hillen Road: one at Cold Spring Lane and another at 33rd Street. Developed in collaboration city planners, researchers, and community organizations, the SMART Intersection represents a commitment to a more sustainable, equitable urban future.

The Safety and Behavioral Analysis Lab

The Safety and Behavioral Analysis Center (SABA Center) at Morgan State University is an academic applied research lab used to support global, national, state, and local efforts to solve traffic safety and mobility problems. The SABA Center accomplishes this  by studying drivers' behavior through state-of-the-art technology and software. Learn more in this video.

Two full-size driving simulators and a bicycle simulator allow for the study of driver and cyclist behavior, allowing researchers to conduct studies that would be difficult and dangerous to do in real life. The simulators can also be connected so that researchers can study reactions among drivers and cyclists. 

One driving simulator has three monitors, including a simulated rearview mirror, and a full size driver's seat with realsitic controls such as a steering wheel, gas and brake pedals, turn signals, etc. The other driving simulator offers a motion-sensing platform so that drivers feel elements such as rumble strips and potholes, and it has a clutch pedal and stickshift. The bike simulator consists of a stationary bike and a monitor. 

The software used by the driving and bike simulators, VR-Design Studio developed by FORUM8 Co., visualizes roads, bridges, ramps, roadside objects, weather patterns, three-dimensional trees and buildings, etc., to create a realistic environment for drivers. It is also capable of creating and editing entire road network elements such as road alignments, intersection design, traffic signals, cross sections, roadside signs, terrain setup, and traffic generation. Although the hardware cannot be altered, the software can be adjusted to study driver behavior in larger vehicles such as trucks and buses. Study participants can even choose their own route from origin to destination.

Data such as lane-changing, acceleration, braking, steering control, speed, and crashes are recorded by the driving simulator software. An eye-tracking system indicates where a driver is looking and for how long. That allows researchers to study all types of distractions, from text messages to billboards, on all types of roads.

The SABA Center also has a portable driving simulator that can be taken off site; recently researchers took it to a police department so that they could safely study how marijuana influenced drivers.

The SABA Center's recent research projects include studying the impacts of different distractions while driving on different types of roads; seeing how well drivers react to the new warning systems in cars such as collision warning; the effects of dynamic message signs on drivers; how best to provide information to drivers, and testing eco-cooperative adaptive cruise control systems for a variety of vehicles.