Federal transportation leaders have awarded Tampa Bay a multi-million dollar contract for the connected vehicle pilot program.

Florida Senator Bill Nelson and U.S. Transportation Under-Secretary Peter Rogoff joined Bay area transportation leaders to make the announcement Monday morning.

The Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority is heading the pilot project, which is designed to make transportation safer, smarter and greener.

Vehicles, roadside equipment and cell phones will be equipped with technology that will allow a network of communication on the roadways. The network would be able to warn drivers of potential hazards and traffic problems.

THEA was already awarded $2.4 million for the contract. After the planning is complete, the agency could receive an additional $15 million to carry out the project.

The proposed test sites include the reversible express lanes at Twiggs Street, Twiggs Street at the Courthouse, Meridian Avenue, MacDill Air Force Base, and the Channelside District.

The program will take a look at ways to reduce morning back ups, improve pedestrian safety, reduce wrong-way incidents, improve traffic progression, improve bus transit safety and trip times, and reduce incidents of pedestrian or vehicle turning right in front of transit Bus.

"It really holds the potential to reduce fatalities by as much as 80 percent," Rogoff said.

Bay area transportation officials will spend the next year putting a plan in place.

Tampa is one of four cities selected as a test site for the Connected Vehicle Pilot Program.