Wouldn’t it be great if you could predict the traffic flow on your way to office on any given day? This is a reality today, thanks to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). In France, vehicle users in Lyon can actually choose their routes to work based on the traffic flow chart provided by the Optimod'Lyon network.
Elsewhere, Singapore drivers are now using location data gathered by taxis to get a forecast of the next hour's traffic patterns. In this system, traffic records and GPS location data are mapped to predict the day's traffic in the country, further augmented by advanced analytics that use historical data applied to real-time GPS stream data.
In fact, Eindhoven (Netherlands) city planners track wetness levels of roads using data transmitted from cars. In the first phase of the technology deployment, a vehicle is utilized to detect slickness on the surface to caution drivers, and when multiple vehicles send data to a central station, they can track dangerous wet spots on the roads. Consequently, it is as no surprise that the global market for ITS is estimated to grow at around 12.4% during 2012 – 2018.
As ITS is being implemented across the globe, many companies are developing chips and other electronic equipment to monitor vehicle behavior. Armed with this data, Eindhoven city planners are bringing about changes in driver behavior with incentives, such as free park-and-ride public transport service and low toll charges, which encourage vehicle users to avoid travelling during peak hours.
Currently, ITS is used predominantly in developed countries, such as the UK, the US, France, Australia, and Canada. For instance, the US has rolled out a new initiative in Jersey City to track city-owned vehicles used by government staff via smartphone apps, thereby ensuring that they are not misusing these vehicles. However, companies in Asia are swiftly following suit and are bringing the smart revolution to the consumer automobile market. Japanese auto giant Toyota recently unveiled a new range of cars that use an auto pilot system to keep to the middle of the road and avoid obstacles, all without driver intervention. Now, many automobile companies are working on self-driving and assisted-driving technology, with Google’s driverless car being a noteworthy example.
ITS is also slowly spreading its wings into emerging economies with huge populations, such as China and India. A new system in India will track traffic density and change signals based on the real-time data provided by its cameras. This prompts the signal to turn green automatically to allow vehicular movement at low traffic density, and switches it to red during heavy traffic movement.
Currently, ITS deploys various wireless communications technologies—radio modem communication on UHF and VHF frequencies are widely used for short and long-range communication. In addition, Bluetooth offers an accurate and inexpensive way to measure travel time and make origin/destination analysis.
ITS applications are not limited to road transport, but can also be used for military, rail, and air transport purposes, as they provide innovative services, and enable users to make safer and smarter use of transport networks.
As technology solutions continue to transform global transit systems, what do you think about the future of transport grids? Share your views with us in the comments box below.