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Today, more than half of the traffic fatalities are a result of run-off-road (RoR) crashes, which usually involve a single vehicle. Roadside barriers are often the last means to mitigate the severity of a RoR crash into hazardous objects or features. While the recent research on vehicular communications primarily focus on safety related wireless communications for vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) and vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) scenarios, the interactions between vehicles and barriers in next generation vehicular systems have not been well-studied.
In this paper, vehicle-to-barrier (V2B) wireless communication paradigm is introduced as a potential missing link in preventing single-vehicle RoR fatalities1. V2B communications, which take place between vehicles and radios embedded in roadside barriers can contribute to keeping cars on the road and help mitigate RoR crashes. The realization of V2B communication services necessitates an in-depth understanding of the underlying physical characteristics of the environment and channel. To this end, in this paper, some of the first real world field test measurement results of V2B communications are presented. More specifically, the effects of two types of commonly-utilized barriers (rigid concrete barrier and corrugated-beam guardrail) on the V2B channel communications are illustrated. The results show that guardrail barriers exhibit a waveguiding effect on signal transmission, while higher signal attenuation is observed with rigid barriers. Moreover, experiments illustrate the characteristics of V2B orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) communication during vehicle encroachment and braking in terms of received signal strength, error vector magnitude, and phase error statistics. The results highlight that barrier-height antenna deployments result in high channel quality for long distances and are not influenced by mobility and vehicle brake during encroachment scenarios, making them a strong candidate for V2B communications.