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World traffic management

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  • 1. TRAFFIC AS WORLD PHENOMENONWorld Traffic management technologyTraffic management technologies have been developed primarily in Europe, America andJapan. Technologies have been developed in view to counter traffic related problems which arebroadly Travel delays, parking problems and safety problems. The causes of these problemshave been tackled through technology intervention of various levels.The causes of delays are demand and supply gap, inefficient signaling systems, Incidents on theroads, scarcity of infrastructure, inefficient passenger information systems and delays due totolls. The technology solutions that have been developed around the world include thefollowing: For proper travel demand management, the techniques being used are Car pooling, Park & Ride systems, odd even auto restrictions, staggering of office hours and congestion pricing. Case studies from Japan and Singapore show that these techniques if properly implemented can improve traffic scenario. On the supply management side the techniques involve either provision of more road infrastructure or introduction of better mass transport systems. Efficient bus systems with priority lanes / signals and innovative mass transit systems like Rail rapid transit (RRT), Shuttle loop transit (SLT), Group rapid transit (GRT), personal rapid transit (PRT) and LRT (light rail transit) have been developed and used all over the world. Every city has adopted any one of these systems according to the needs. Other associated technologies like Intelligent Community Vehicle System, automatic ticketing systems add to the streamlining of mass transit systems. A lot of technologies have been developed in the field of signaling systems. The trend of traffic signals has evolved from fixed time programmed signals towards detector based real time traffic signals. Technology inputs have improved both on hardware and software sides of signaling systems. In real time systems, detectors are installed on every intersection that counts the number of vehicles that queue at any intersection arm. The inputs from the detector are processed by a controller software and signals are synchronized in such a way that heavy traffic paths are given longer clearways. A lot of
  • 2. technological improvements have been reported in hardware such as detector types, controllers, connectors, signals. Similarly there are a number of software developed like SCOOT, SCAT, MOVA. Associated software like ASTRID, INGRID are used for real time traffic data analysis and incident detection. Another set of technological development is in the form of incident detection systems which contribute substantially to traffic systems. Automatic incident and congestion detection systems have been developed which use on road sensors to send information to control room for immediate recovery. Further congestion is avoided through radio information broadcasts, surveillance television broadcasts, and airborne video. Simulation models have been developed to assist in incident recovery and traffic diversion strategies. Passenger / driver information systems have been developed in the form of Comprehensive Automobile Traffic Control systems; Internet based route systems, Electronic route guidance system, telephone information service, Driver Information and early warning systems. All these systems encompass technologies to assist the driver to decide the best transit route. Variable message signs have been designed to inform the driver of the real time parking spaces available, lane traffic conditions, incidents on the lane, weather conditions. Other systems involve better information systems at bus stands that inform the commuter about the bus routes, time of the next bus arrival, fare structure etc. Other associated technologies include Automatic vehicle locating systems which use the conventional Global positioning systems.Next set of traffic problems are related to parking problems. This is caused either by lack ofparking space or inefficient parking systems. Technologies have been developed in the field ofmulti level parking spaces that have multi directional entry points. Technology advancementshave taken place in the field of parking systems which include multi-locational variable messagesigns giving the real time parking status of all the adjoining parking spaces. Similarly automaticparking ticketing systems have been practiced where prepaid parking cards can be used inmachines. Advancements in the form of Parking advisory systems are also being developed.Road safety problems are caused due to a number of factors like mixed traffic conditions, ruleviolations, lack of enforcement, improper warning systems, and lack of driver training.Technology intervention has been in the form of changeable message signs in controlling
  • 3. vehicle speeds in work zones, automatic truck rollover warning system, collision avoidancesystems, thermal imaging cameras and simulator based driver training technologies. Violationdetection equipment like lane cameras, speed detectors, signal jumping detection cameras havebeen developed and installed. These cameras are connected to well equipped interceptors thathave computerized fine/ ticketing systems.Emerging technology trend is towards Expert area traffic control systems, automated highwaysystems and Internet commerce. Expert area traffic control systems are real time system wherein the controller can take decisions in abnormal traffic situation much as a human would do.Trials are in the process for development of these systems. Automated highway systems includespecialized vehicles that can be operated on a hands off mode with built in collision avoidancesystems and lane / speed systems. Commerce through internet would indirectly reduce thetravel demand on roads.London studyLondon is a great world city but its transport system by the twenty-first century had obviouslylagged behind the needs of its economy and its citizens. The population of London has grownslowly over the last 10 years having exceeded 7 million in 1995 for the first time since the1970s.The number of people employed in London has also increased – to over 3,840,000. In 1997,1.07 million people were estimated to enter central London on an average weekday between07:00 and 10:00, again part of an upward trend. Around 82 percent used public transport, thisproportion remaining almost constant over the past decade.Congestion charging is a controversial scheme which pioneers new transport management toolsand would not be possible without state-of-the-art technology. Look at the following Londontraffic facts and figures to get a better idea of why the technology was introduced.Prior to congestion charging 40,000 vehicles an hour drove every morning into central London,equivalent to 25 busy motorway lanes. iw all this traffic, drivers in central London spend 50 percent of their time in queues. th
  • 4.  Traffic speeds in central London dipped below 10 mph in the period 1998–2000 for the firsttime since records began. There are now no longer any peaks. Drivers spend as much as half their time in jams, costing the capitals economy £2 to £4million a week. 136,000 residents live within the charging zone, about half in car-owning households. Each weekday, 6,000 buses accommodate 4.5 million passenger journeys on 600 routesaround London; bus passenger travel increased by 6 per cent in 2000/01 to 4.7 billionpassenger kilometers. If congestion charge works it is estimated there will be a 10 to 15 percent cut in traffic, theenough to cut journey times by 20 to 30 percent.Singapore is a success story on a larger scale, using similar state-of-the-art technology as dosome cities in Sweden and the Netherlands. Cities such as Manchester, Leeds, York, Bath andHong Kong will assess the Londons success before they decide whether to follow its lead.The congestion charging scheme directly tackles four key transport priorities for London 1. Reducing congestion 2. Improving bus services 3. Improving journey time reliability for car users 4. Making the distribution of goods and services more reliable, sustainable and efficient.The scheme has also raised significant funds to improve Londons transport system. Six monthsafter the system was introduced, in autumn 2003, a report on its success was commissioned byTransport for London (TfL).According to the report the following successes have been achieved congestion in the zone has dropped by around 30 percent – at the high end of TfLs expectations congestion is now lower than at any stage since the mid-1980s the number of motor vehicles entering the zone during charging hours has dropped by 16per cent
  • 5. 50,000 fewer cars per day are being driven into the charging zone with the majority oftheir drivers switching to public transport or other modes of transport such as bicycles,scooters and car sharing; people are also diverting around the zone, resulting in 4,000fewer people coming to the charging zoneno significant traffic displacement around the zone has been observedcar journeys to and from the charging zone are quicker and more reliable – car journeytimes have decreased by an average of 14 percent and reliability has improved by anaverage of 30 percentpublic transport is coping well with the increased number of ex-car users and busservices are benefiting from the reduced congestionthere is a suggested 20 per cent reduction in the number of accidents within the zonethe various payment systems are working satisfactorily, and although net revenue fromthe scheme are less than anticipated, over £68 million will be raised in 2003/04 and £80to £100 million in future years for reinvestment in further transport improvements