With city limits expanding and receding suburban limits, what does a modern smart city need? Well, one of the biggest challenges of today is how to accommodate the billions of vehicles on the roads! How to approach this problem and make city traffic, smarter. The answer probably lies in IOT enabled traffic management plan.
With competition for market share resulting in reduced vehicle costs, combined with higher purchasing power, almost every urban family owns at least one four-wheeler. How are our roads and the traffic management system going to handle it?
While the so-called ‘Intelligent Traffic Systems’ was introduced in Los Angeles (US) around the 1984 Olympic Games, most cities of the world haven’t seen it. But thanks to IoT, it might not be that distant any more. Every smart city has to adopt smart systems and undertake IOT projects.
Managing traffic is one of the worst nightmares for city administration. If we’re looking at smart cities in the near future, traffic management is their Achilles’ heel. We’re no strangers to traffic congestion and traffic pile-ups. Add to that, dysfunctional traffic lights – total chaos! ‘San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency once stated that almost 35% of the traffic congestion is caused because drivers keep on looking for the right spot to park.’
Smart Traffic Management
Smooth traffic management is not a herculean feat. Just needs planning, as we already have the technology such as internet of things. All we need is smooth and uninterrupted connectivity between traffic signals and the traffic command centers, digital road maps of the city and analysis (real-time) of traffic data at all times of the day and night. In case of heavy traffic congestion or road blockades, the traffic management systems, along with GPS system, should be able to guide vehicle owners to routes that are less congested and even help with identifying a parking space. This is nothing but an IOT project based on bigdata analysis.
Real-time traffic information is displayed on hard-to-miss large digital screens, making it simple for drivers to pick better routes and parking spots. It’s a win-win because there’s less-to-no man-power requirement in smart traffic (for authorities) and a lot of time and fuel saving for vehicle owners. Cleaner environment and holistic living leads us one step closer to the smart cities we’re rooting for.
So how do we really achieve smart traffic?
IOT enabled devices such as smart Cameras & IOT sensors at traffic signals keep relaying information to traffic command centers on the number of vehicles piling at the junction. When the traffic pile-up is beginning to reach the warning level, the digital road maps come in to picture. The traffic management (based on real-time GPS & traffic data on alternate routes) sends/displays messages (smart mass messaging) to drivers, to avoid the next junction/signal and to use another route. When the pile-up at the signal has reduced to safe limits, the messaging displays are stopped and drivers may proceed to the junction without any detours.
These display messages can be used to lead ambulances to the nearest hospital and even pass through heavy traffic congestion. The traffic management system can also notify the nearest hospital to expect an emergency, especially in critical accident cases. CISCO is one of the companies working in the direction of smart traffic management with real time data analysis.
Technology and traffic management are already known to work well together. It is just the data analysis and management in real-time that’s the need of the hour. After all, one of the keys to smart cities and a smart future is smart traffic and happy motorists!