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Relieving traffic jams

Clogged roadways and mile-long traffic jams could soon be a thing of the past. The component project Traffic Performance Assistance is designed to make traffic flow more smoothly and relieve traffic jams.

Two-thirds of all traffic jams are caused by excessive traffic demand or by construction sites. Nowadays, scientists investigating traffic congestion and its causes have a pretty clear picture of how a small incident or disturbance can develop into a full-fledged traffic jam ­ and how the jam could be avoided! In the future, driving assistance systems will utilize these scientific advances, collecting and combining data dynamically to reconstruct and even predict the traffic state ­ traffic volume, speed, density and to modify speeds, headways, and lane changing so as to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible even under adverse conditions. By making traffic itself behave intelligently in this way, traffic performance assistance will help to minimize spontaneous disturbances that otherwise could cause congestion or stop-and-go traffic.

If a traffic jam is already present, traffic performance assistance is designed to minimize the length of the jam and to adapt vehicle speeds so as to return faster to uncongested flow. In addition, the assistance systems are designed to provide inter-vehicle communication, thus allowing subsequent vehicles to be warned. Hence, this component project represents a platform for new applications of inter-vehicle communication technology.


Routing made to measure

Existing roadway networks could be utilized much more efficiently to meet traffic demand and avoid overloads. The Network Traffic Equalizer is a component project of INVENT, in which specialists are incorporating sophisticated traffic management strategies into a new generation of navigation systems using advanced methods including machine intelligence.

These navigation systems will provide drivers with the best alternative routes to their destinations ­ fulfilling not only the driveršs wish to avoid delays by avoiding current traffic jams and construction but at the same time taking into account and supporting public traffic management policy, safety, and environmental considerations. The knowledge base for routing made to measure is detailed and up-to-the-minute reconstruction and prediction of traffic and road conditions, taking into account information on road closures, regional public traffic management strategies, etc. Because it influences the traffic distribution at the individual vehicle level, the Network Traffic Equalizer has an enormous potential for supporting and enhancing public strategies and for improving the performance of the existing roadway network. Vehicles of the future will constitute an integral part of traffic and environmental data collection ­ for example by automatically detecting, and reporting to a management center, important events encountered during the trip, such as congestion or icy roads. The fusion of this data with public traffic management and safety information, stationary traffic sensors, etc. will provide more highly refined pictures of the network traffic state and permit higher precision in traffic forecasting. The project partners will be performing field tests of these new approaches in Munich and Magdeburg.

[network equalizer]


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