Traffic congestion is rising in cities around the world. Contributing factors include expanding urban populations, aging infrastructure, inefficient and uncoordinated traffic signal timing and a lack of real-time data.
The impacts are significant. Traffic data and analytics company INRIX estimates that traffic congestion cost U.S. commuters $305 billion in 2017 due to wasted fuel, lost time and the increased cost of transporting goods through congested areas. Given the physical and financial limitations around building additional roads, cities must use new strategies and technologies to improve traffic conditions.
The quest to solve traffic congestion
Advanced traffic management technologies such as adaptive traffic control and traffic analytics can improve safety and significantly decrease traffic congestion levels and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
For example, Pittsburgh deployed Rapid Flow Technology’s Surtrac system at 50 intersections across the city. The decentralized system uses a combination of video detection and radar to detect vehicle traffic and adjust signals in real-time using artificial intelligence-driven software. Results from the implementation have been substantial: travel times have been reduced by 26 percent, wait times at intersections are down 41 percent and vehicle emissions have been reduced by 21 percent.
Advanced traffic management systems are also enabling the development of smart intersections, which are emerging as one of the most important data-driven backbones needed to solve core city challenges.
Similar to the platform capabilities offered by smart street lighting, layers of additional services can be added to advanced traffic management systems, such as public transport prioritization and communications with connected vehicles.
For example, in early 2018, the city of Dallas partnered with Ericsson to upgrade the city’s traffic management system. In addition to the ability to adjust traffic signals across hundreds of intersections in real-time, the system will be connected to local transit systems. This connection is anticipated to enable a bus rapid transit route to be prioritized through targeted greenlight timing.
Growth and maturity levels
Over the next 10 years, the advanced traffic management market is expected to achieve gradual but accelerating growth. Navigant Research estimates that the global market for advanced traffic management will be worth more than $1.1 billion in 2019. Annual revenue is expected to grow to nearly $3.8 billion by 2028, representing a compound annual growth rate of 14.2 percent.
This growth likely will occur as cities prioritize reducing traffic congestion and GHG emissions, make improvements in safety and livability, and integrate advanced traffic management systems with other smart city initiatives such as smart street lighting. Adoption is also expected to be enhanced by greater penetrations of connected vehicles.
Globally, cities vary in their level of maturity in terms of using advanced traffic management systems. Collecting traffic and vehicle detection data are often the first steps toward advanced traffic management, followed by in-depth traffic analytics that enable traffic managers to develop mitigation strategies and make operational improvements to existing traffic signal timing systems.
In smart cities with mature traffic management solutions:
- Advanced traffic control technologies enable traffic signals to adjust based on real-time traffic conditions (with increasing use of AI).
- Traffic data is sent to connected vehicles traveling in the traffic flow.
- Inter-agency data sharing is on the rise.
- Transport platforms enable cities to better manage their mobility ecosystem
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