Technology and road traffic management in cities.

Relevant data:

  • As per a report by Boston Consulting Group, traffic congestion during peak hours in four major cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata — costs the economy Rs 1.47 lakh crore annually.
  • The anticipated average journey speeds in major corridors in major cities are expected to reduce from about 12kmph presently to less than 6kmph by 2030, if the traffic congestion issues are not addressed.

Problems with the road system:

The biggest problem facing transport in cities today is capacity, with road systems creaking under the strain of cars. Traffic congestion has reduced the average speed of vehicles in key cities to less than 20 kmph, plagued by several urban transport issues like poorly designed entry and exit points on roads and freeways, the dual presence of chaurahas and signals, the absence of lane markings and poor intersection management.

Intelligent Traffic Management Solutions:

  • Advanced traffic advisory – Advanced traffic advisory uses various intelligent sub-systems like sensors, CCTVs, VIDs etc on roads and vehicles to provide 24/7 traffic advice on various aspects like current and future average speeds, delays, incidents, congestion, roadwork, adverse weather conditions etc. to a commuter on their smartphone. Complementing this could be the variable message signs strategically placed along roadways, to display real time information for a variety of situations including emergencies, construction and road closures.
  • Adaptive Signal Control Technology – Adaptive Signal Control Technology adjusts the timings of the traffic lights on the basis of traffic on a particular side of road. This technology adapts to the demand of the traffic in real time. Japan has already seen the successful implementation of this technology and reduced traffic congestion by 35%.
  • Variable Lane Capacity Management – Variable lane capacity management makes congested highways/bridges/freeway systems more efficient, safe and functional. It reconfigures the roadway using movable barriers that are shifted back and forth several times a day to create high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes that match traffic demand. This dynamic solution offers real-time increase in road capacity and maintains positive barrier protection between the lanes.
  • Incident resolution and management – Often the lack of timely measures for incident resolution and management results in congestion and the occurrence of secondary incidents. The need of the hour is a solution that intimates operators about congestion and incidents and accidents immediately as they happen, allowing control centers quick confirmation through CCTV integrated in the platform to enable prompt assistance dispatch.
  • Creation of U-shaped intersections – The construction of U-shaped loops minimise traffic congestion and significantly reduce the occurrence of severe crash types while facilitating movement across intersections without traffic jams. This solution delivers more for less, getting more cars through the same spaces than a conventional intersection with improved safety.

Way ahead:

  • There is a need for development of high capacity public transport systems.
  • Formulation of clear laws for commercial carpooling in India.
  • Efficient use of data and artificial intelligence can help in making transport decision system more effective.

Source: Hindustan Times