Due to the surging population and urbanization, traffic congestion has become one of the most conspicuous trends of today. It occurs when quantity of vehicles exceeds the road capacity. Congestion also leads to the slow speed of freight vehicles and an increase in the waiting time at checkpoints and toll plazas. Just a normal few minutes trip to the grocery store may take up to half an hour due to traffic jam or slowdown. High speed, weather conditions and heavy traffic due to too much dependence on private transport can lead to accidents and loss of life. We need to manage traffic in an efficient way. Intelligent traffic management system can help with these.
What actually is traffic management system:
It is a system used to regulate the flow of traffic through centrally-controlled traffic signals and sensors. They can be found on the main road of cities. It has the following features:
- Reduces everyday congestion by smoothing traffic flow.
- Reduces pollution throughout the city by limiting traffic jams.
- Prioritize buses approaching junctions and using phasing lights to ensure the flow of buses within the city.
- An effective response to traffic incidents. The system can also be pre-programmed to handle traffic on any of the radicles.
- Gives priority to traffic according to real-time changes in traffic conditions.
Components of the automated control system :
Mainly three devices are used in these central systems: Smart traffic lights, cameras and, central control systems. Intelligent traffic lights are a vehicle control system that combines traditional traffic lights within an array of sensors and artificial intelligence to route the vehicles. The sensors collect information from infrastructure sensors and communicate with vehicles on the roads. The traffic cameras observe vehicular traffic on roads and there are strict penalties for violations like jumping red light, over speeding, etc. They encourage safe driving habits and discourage moving violations. The central control system integrates and processes all the data received from the field equipment and ensures proper and on-time reaction to any type of situation. It ensures safety for all the traffic participants.
How traffic signals improve traffic flow: They lessen the inefficiencies like jams or vehicles waiting at empty intersections. They improve traffic flow by:
- Update timings: Smart traffic lights can fed weather data according to real-time traffic conditions. These systems are adaptable to situations like rain and snow which may cause significant traffic slowdowns.
- Updating drivers of ideal speeds: They help to maintain optimal driving speed. By maintaining this speed drivers will reach the next traffic lights when it is green. It not only regulates traffic flow but creates a theory of ‘green traffic lights.’
- Congestion: Smart traffic lights are equipped with radar, cameras and, sensors. They collect data from infrastructure sensors and communicate with vehicles on the road by identifying their speed and trajectory.
- Integrate activity between traffic lights: Sensors placed at intersections collects information based on traffic conditions to adjust signals and synchronize traffic light activity.
- Organize traffic flow: They give importance to public transport over private. For example, when ambulance or buses come across a traffic light they are given preference over private cars in the intersecting road.
- Decreases pollution: Spending hours in a traffic jam has become quite common in metropolitan cities, leading to health and environmental hazards. Also, stop-start driving is polluting and inefficient. Installation of smart traffic lights ensures vehicles emit less harmful gases into the atmosphere and improve air quality in cities. They decrease pollution by improving congestion.
Role of Big Data and IoT to solve challenges: Smart technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) have increased the pace of life. Cities all around the world are embracing this technology to regulate the flow of traffic. IoT in terms of traffic management refers to smart and connected devices like sensors, vehicle-mounted information systems and, mobile phones. They transfer data to a central system for analysis. Data is analyzed and is used to regulate the traffic flow with the help of a traffic control system. It improves traffic in the following ways:
- Intelligent traffic lights: It combines traditional traffic lights with an array of sensors. IoT sensors collect data and feed it to the management center for analysis. It can feed optimal lighting patterns back to traffic lights.
- Public transport: Public transportation may be slowed down due to weather constraints or accidents that may occur on road. IoT devices can be installed on vehicles like buses and trains. Sensors collect data and ensure that transport runs on time. It enables transport regulators to have continuous visibility. This data can help the authorities to offer enhanced services to citizens and identify issues.
- Smart roads: Sensors can be submerged in the roads. Underground sensors can detect the location and speed of vehicles and provide real-time information to drivers about weather conditions. Emergency teams receive alerts via sensors in case of the accident. It can also alert drivers of the upcoming hazards.
- Smart parking: Data about free and occupied parking places are send via mobile application. IoT uses GPS, underground sensors and microcontrollers which detects available parking spots. A user receives live updates about available parking spots and chooses the best one.
- Data analytics: CCTV sensors on roads help to locate accident spots and communicate them to the nearest emergency rooms. Officials can analyze the footage and notify those responsible for hazards. Smart assistance helps to manage traffic congestion.
Traffic congestion is a common problem in most developing countries. It takes unpredictable road time and is chaotic and noisy. Improving roads is a complex and expensive solution. A smart traffic system has become the need of the hour. Upgrading road with smart traffic control systems will not only reduce congestion and pollution but also regulates traffic patterns and improve public transportation. It may reduce accidents and make the streets safer for drivers and pedestrians. Smart traffic systems offer benefits that go well beyond driver convenience. They are essential for the welfare of our nation and society. Such provision will ensure the quality of roads and eliminate bottlenecks that hamper the traffic flow. These systems should definitely be encouraged.