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There are currently a large variety of wireless access networks, including the emerging vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs). A large variety of applications utilizing these networks will demand features such as real-time, high-availability, and even instantaneous high-bandwidth in some cases. Therefore, it is imperative for network service providers to make the best possible use of the combined resources of available heterogeneous networks (wireless area networks (WLANs), Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems, VANETs, Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX), etc.) for connection support. When connections need to migrate between heterogeneous networks for performance and high-availability reasons, seamless vertical handoff (VHO) is a necessary first step. In the near future, vehicular and other mobile applications will be expected to have seamless VHO between heterogeneous access networks. With regard to VHO performance, there is a critical need to develop algorithms for connection management and optimal resource allocation for seamless mobility. In this paper, we develop a VHO decision algorithm that enables a wireless access network to not only balance the overall load among all attachment points (e.g., base stations and access points) but also maximize the collective battery lifetime of mobile nodes (MNs). In addition, when ad hoc mode is applied to 3/4G wireless data networks, VANETs, and IEEE 802.11 WLANs for a more seamless integration of heterogeneous wireless networks, we devise a route-selection algorithm for forwarding data packets to the most appropriate attachment point to maximize collective battery lifetime and maintain load balancing. Results based on a detailed performance evaluation study are also presented here to demonstrate the efficacy of the proposed algorithms.