The Colorado Mayday Field Operational Test was intended to develop and test an invehicle device that could be manually triggered in an accident or emergency and would report the vehicle location along with other vehicle-specific information. The project was proposed to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in January 1994, and testing commenced in early 1995. Three phases were planned, of which two were completed. The first phase assessed the design and technical performance of the Mayday system through limited testing. The second phase tested the system in real-world conditions on a small scale basis. The final phase was to be a full-scale test involving 2000 motorists that would use the system in actual emergencies.
Other elements of the project included evaluating the system’s fit within the National ITS Architecture, the feasibility of marketing a low-cost system, and expanding the program to a nationwide program.
The low-cost Mayday system is comprised of three principal elements, defined as follows:
Mayday in-vehicle unit
The in-vehicle unit housed the low-cost location device which provided the GPS data from which the vehicle position could be derived; the button box used to operate the system and request assistance; and the interface equipment used to control the
A two-way communications link transmitted, request information to the control center and receive confirmation messages from the control center.
Mayday control center
The control center received all emergency assistance requests originating from the invehicle units. The requests were processed, identifying the vehicle location and type of assistance required. The control center then routed the request to the appropriate response agency and notified the motorist of the action taken and the anticipated response time.
The results of the Colorado Mayday project proved the concept, and established a series of functional requirements for how such a system would need to operate on a national level. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Mayday Project Manager, Neil Lacey, participated in the Multi-jurisdictional Mayday Group, in order to share these lessons learned with private sector Mayday products and services.
Project Duration: 1995-1997