Connected Vehicles Program

The transportation industry is on the cusp of embracing new technologies that will revolutionize the way we move. Connected and autonomous vehicles will have the ability to increase safety, improve mobility and reduce environmental impacts. The Maricopa County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) is a national leader in the field of connected vehicle technology.


Arizona's Connected Vehicle Program was initiated in 2007 by MCDOT, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and the University of Arizona (U of A). It began as a research project to identify how new technology applications could enhance traffic signal operations, incident management and traveler information. During this time, MCDOT developed the concept of vehicle prioritization and used this concept to develop applications to improve safety for emergency responders. This concept, now known as the MCDOT SMARTDrive ProgramSM, prevents emergency vehicles from colliding with one another at signalized intersections while responding to emergencies. The MCDOT SMARTDrive ProgramSM simultaneously communicates with multiple emergency vehicles arriving at the same intersection at the same time and relates back which vehicle has the right-of-way.

Anthem Test Bed

MCDOT constructed a test bed in Anthem, Arizona to test the MCDOT SMARTDrive ProgramSM's vehicle prioritization technology in 2011. It was one of the first seven test beds in the country.

The Arizona Connected Vehicle program has now expanded its testing to include new applications such as a pedestrian traffic signal crosswalk application, transit priority application and a trucking priority application. In the future, the AZ Connected Vehicle Consortium hopes to expand its program even further by testing these applications in "real world" scenarios where residents and businesses in Maricopa County can participate.

An article discussing the importance of the Anthem Test Bed to support the development of connected vehicle technology appeared in the ITE Journal, October 2017.

Here is a write up of a recent demonstration.

Future Plans

MCDOT plans to develop partnerships with local universities to test the pedestrian crosswalk application, which will allow pedestrians to request extended crossing times.

MCDOT also plans to work with the warehouse and shipping industry along MC85 to provide trucks with equipment to help reduce shipping times and therefore provide a regional economic benefit to companies. Connected vehicle technology will reduce wear and tear on the roadway from the constant starting and stopping of trucks. It also reduces emissions as the trucks will be idling less, thus helping to improve the environment.

National Leadership

The technology developed by Arizona's Connected Vehicle Program contributed to the development of the U.S. Department of Transportation's Multi-Modal Intelligent Traffic Signal System (MMITSS). MMITSS is now available to other Departments of Transportation across the country to help them build and establish their own connected vehicle programs. MCDOT's Anthem Connected Vehicle Test Bed was officially recognized as a Nationally Affiliated Test Bed in 2012.