Washington, May 14 : To ensure smooth traffic flow, a group of scientists have developed new methods for determining the traffic situation across a wide area, and have refined processes that enable traffic to be optimally channelled.
Traffic jams on roads are common. The Operative Regional Integrated and Optimized Corridor Control (ORINOKO) project from Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI in Dresden, along with other partners are performing variety of tasks to ensure smooth traffic flow.
"One thing we did was set up a central database containing a digital map of the road network. A vast amount of relevant measurement data flows continuously into this database," said Georg Forster, IVI team leader.
"We also provided software interfaces that enable dynamic data from a variety of sources, such as journey times, traffic volume or tailback lengths, to be used for control and information purposes within the scope of the traffic management system," he added.
The team has also established a sensor system based on video cameras, installed and tested on a trial basis at ten different sites in Nuremberg over the past few months.
It can automatically determine certain traffic statistics such as the number of vehicles on the roads or the length of a tailback.
These values are continuously fed into a central computer system where they are processed and used to control the traffic. For instance, traffic lights are switched to suit the situation observed by the cameras.
"This combination of advanced computer technology and the image processing software developed by us delivers data of a similar quality to those of conventional induction loops, but is much cheaper and more flexible to use," said IVI head of department Ulf Jung.
The video detector can determine the number of vehicles, their speed, the length of a tailback, and other factors. At present, it is able to analyse up to six traffic lanes simultaneously.
The recorded images are processed and interpreted in real time on the spot by a small computer connected to the camera module, which then sends the traffic data and live images to a control centre.
The video detectors are not only cost-efficient but also deliver a continuous stream of reliable data.