Intelligent Transport System
Have you ever been stuck in heavy traffic congestion? If yes, you have the experience of time-wasting, tiredness, and frustration. Traffic congestion could delay your trip from five/ten minutes to several days.
Did you know that the worst traffic congestion in history was continued for 12 days? This was reported in August 2010 in Beijing, China on China National Highway 110.
A 62-mile long traffic for 12 days…
Can you imagine the loss incurred? How many productive human hours had been lost?
Traffic congestion is a situation where the vehicle volume is larger than the road capacity for a particular road section at any given time. On the other hand, it can be explained as “Stop & Go”. Stop & Go represents moving vehicles relatively slower than the probable free-flow speed and not at a steady speed.
The worst congestions in the USA are with US-101 and I-5 roads in Los Angeles, wasting 80 and 76 hours per year at peak hours in congestion, per driver.
The average citizen of the United States of America lost 99 hrs. a year in 2019 due to congestion, resulting in a congestion cost of USD 1,377.
Countries have taken measures to reduce traffic congestion like developing road infrastructure in proportion to the increase in vehicles. Thus, we all are talking about sustainability, where road expansions to meet vehicle demand is questionable.
Therefore, let’s see how an intelligent transport system can mitigate traffic congestion.
What is an intelligent transport system?
ITS or Intelligent Transport System is a concept associated with the smart city concept, which has developed with the advancement of Information Technology (IT). It is better to identify the core of Intelligent Transport Systems.
ITS aims to enhance the mobility of people and goods by increasing safety with a reduction of traffic congestion and effective incident management. Transport Demand Management (TDM) and Transport Supply Management (TSM), which help meet the goals & objectives of transport policies, are another primary concern of ITS. Sensing, analyzing, computing strategies and communication are powerful tools available that help optimizing the decision-making process with real-time information.
Some ITS applications in road transportation improve traffic flow, incident detection and responding correctly, and prior notifications about dangerous situations.
How do intelligent transport system works
There are three major ITS functions, traffic data collection, analytics, and management.
Traffic monitoring systems and road weather monitoring are the main ways of collecting traffic data. CCTV cameras and GPS data related to traffic are some examples of traffic data collection. This is quite significant as more data helps to make good decisions. The accuracy of data receives through instruments is relatively high.
The success of traffic data collection leads to better output from traffic analytics. Network prediction and real-time simulation that can be done using “Sumo (Simulation of Urban Mobility )” are some major examples. Planning and performance evaluation is a major infrastructure in traffic analytics.
Successive traffic analytics based on accurate data leads to better traffic management. Provision of driver information and active driver management are major traffic management infrastructures. Electronic pricing and smart parking are some of the instances.
These three functionalities can be identified in famous ride-hailing applications like Uber and Lyft. Think about how the nearest driver is hailing a ride or why a driver from 2 to 3 miles away accepts your trip request. It makes sense if you think about the system relating to how Intelligent transport systems are working.
Of course… your next question would be how these things reduce the traffic congestion.
Think about a road which was blocked due to an accident.
Usually, it will gradually get more congested unless a police officer arrives faster for assistance. Roads will get congested since vehicles are moving at their own will. If it is a busy road and in peak time, the case will be worse.
The intervention of police officers will make the vehicles move thus pretty slowly.
Let us see how effective ITS is,
When such blockage takes place, it is reported to the system through CCTV cameras or GPS records. Then the system investigates the road system and identifies the alternative routes for blocked road section. Then the system alert vehicles to use alternative routes to avoid road blockage. Further, the system provides navigational assistance to the vehicles. Meanwhile, the system reports to the relevant authorities about the accident.
With this implementation, the impact on vehicle flow gets minimized, and related authorities are informed immediately for necessary actions with the intelligent transport system.
This depicts how effective ITS is.
Cooee Busway is a mobility application in Australia. It operates on-demand basis. Cooee buses are not operating on fixed routes. Passengers can make a travel request, and they will be directed to the nearest shuttle. The passenger will be notified of available buses with an expected time of arrival and pick up location. Collection of location details, showing nearby shuttles, showing expected arrival time and location are the highlighting functionalities of ITS that can be seen in this public smart shuttle service.
This shows how ITS empowers public transport.
An intelligent traffic light system is also another ITS implication which turns the traditional traffic light systems to be more real-time configurations and with good coordination among the traffic lights in a particular area to minimize the waiting time of a vehicle. Further, this can be configured in prioritizing public transport modes.
How ITS is effective in the reduction of traffic congestion
The answer is the integration of the above-mentioned cases. The most viable solution to reduce traffic congestion is to reduce private vehicle usage or shift private car users to public modes. Public modes should be reliable and convenient. ITS could be utilize in upgrading the quality of public transportation while providing priority lanes for public transport modes including smart colour lights. On the other hand, incident reporting and alternative route navigation are good solutions to mitigate traffic congestion.
Compared to other methods like infrastructure development and policy restructuring of transport policies, this Intelligent Transport Systems is effective in both cost and operational aspects. The above-discussed applications are a general mix that can be used. Thus we need to identify the reasons for the traffic congestion in regional wise. Then, the same could be fixed/minimised with ITS applications for smooth traffic management.
The Intelligent Transport System not only assist in congestion but also with sustainable transport solutions. Less congestion leads to less carbon emission, and less time on roads. Less time on the roads means less tiredness which increases the productivity of a person.