Stuck in traffic! Again. And all you can think of is: why on earth can’t they just widen the roads? Easy! Because more is not always better. Often enough more is just what it is: more. More streets, more tracks, more bicycle lanes, more traffic lights – first and foremost, that means burning more money and wasting important time. Sometimes, it even worsens the situation. What transportation researchers already have known for years is, that building new roads just makes people drive more.
What if I told you, that you could increase your roads’ safety, improve their performance and enhance the mobility of your city, just by implementing smart algorithms to real time data into your traffic management?
In a world where individual space is precious, we need to think about alternatives. Speaking about alternatives: using IT in an intelligent way would be the smartest one. Technology determines our everyday life. Industries have been transformed by information technology and it will also have a great influence on transportation. ITS – intelligent transportation systems – empowers cities and nations to get a better performance of the existing transportation system, by using sensors and microchips, allowing them to talk to each other via wireless technology. Less congestions, accidental deaths cut to a minimum and travelling convenience are just some of the achievements that turn out to be possible.
ITS deliver five key classes of benefits:
- increasing safety
- improving operational performance, particularly by reducing congestion
- enhancing mobility
- delivering environmental benefits
- boosting productivity and expanding economic and employment growth.
In fact accordingly to an interesting report from ITIF (The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF):
Applying real-time traffic data to U.S. traffic signal lights can improve traffic flow significantly, reducing stops by as much as 40 percent, reducing travel time by 25 percent, cutting gas consumption by 10 percent (1.1 million gallons of gas annually), and cutting emissions by 22 percent (cutting daily carbon dioxide emissions by 9, 600 tons). ITS can contribute significantly to reducing congestion, which costs U.S. commuters 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons of fuel each year, costing the U.S. economy up to $200 billion per year. Overall, ITS can reduce congestion by as much as 20 percent more. [see page 7: Intelligent Transportation Systems]
By optimizing your signal controls, you do more than just maximizing the capacity of your infrastructure – you create a liveable environment.
PTV Optima – take back the control of your city
Sometimes, situations can get a little out of hand. What to do then? Again: easy! If you’d knew in advance not only existing disturbances, like construction works, on the current traffic situation, but also, if you could consider future traffic levels, you could act proactively and manage your traffic effectively.
PTV Optima, the PTV traffic management software, produces a coherent and detailed picture of the current traffic situation by collecting, comparing, validating and combining traffic data from various sources, such as
- Floating car data (GPS data from taxis)
- Traffic messages (police, highway authority)
- Public transport data (time tables, etc.)
- Detectors, sensors, webcams
Thanks to PTV Optima, traffic management centres can provide current and future traffic information to their teams and road users automatically. To achieve this, PTV Optima combines proven offline traffic modelling with real-time data and algorithms. The software considers the entire traffic network and produces forecasts for the next 60 minutes.
Additionally, PTV Optima can calculate several combinations of strategies simultaneously and faster than in real time, so that the best possible strategy can be implemented quickly. Strategies that have been set up and tested offline, can be put into PTV Optima‘s online environment, assessed there based on the current traffic condition, compared and ranked before they hit the streets. By using this feature as a decision support, traffic managers can maximize the capacity of the streets and react quickly to unforeseen circumstances that may arise.
You even want to go a step further in optimizing your traffic? Think of short delays, moderate travel times, fewer emissions, reduced noise. Sounds like heaven, doesn’t it? Make the most of your junction capacity by using a traffic adaptive control, which reacts to what’s happening on the roads. Unlike a fixed time, control system (which always runs its program in the same way regardless of the actual traffic situation), traffic-adaptive control is sensitive to demand. With PTV Balance, the PTV traffic adaptive control software, you can automatically apply a range of control options that can are automatically evaluated in real-time using a model, before being applied in the field. That means the best control option always gets a green light – even taking into account coordination between different junctions and the public transport vehicles.
A successful implementation of an intelligent transportation system needs experts, who understand how a city works and operates and who have the right tool to face the problem. You have the project, we have the skills. Get in touch for further information.
Tell us: how do you optimise traffic with PTV Optima? What are your ideas and experiences?
Do you want to know how PTV Optima can help you solve other what-if scenarios? Make sure to check back with us every Wednesday for our what-if series.
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This post is also available in: German