Smart Technologies for Smart Traffic

IoT in Traffic | smart city solution | business magazine

What’s common among Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai? Apart from being metro cities, what binds them together, though unceremoniously, is the snarling traffic. In any given day, a common citizen drives for up to 2 hours a day and sometimes even more, depending on traffic conditions. And the problem isn’t just limited to traffic jams but spills into road rage, pollution, health issues, accidents and more. Managing the ever-growing number of vehicles on the streets is perhaps the most herculean task for the authorities. The solution, experts opine, lies in utilizing technology and with high hopes, they are looking up to the Internet Of Things (IoT).
Experts suggest that IoT along with Big Data can radically infuse up-gradations in traffic management systems(TMS) and make for what is termed as Smart Traffic. The idea is to establish a TMS as a complete ecosystem where different components like vehicles and traffic lights can interact with each other to facilitate a smooth running. To get things started, traffic lights, toll booths, and even the roads are beginning to incorporate smart infrastructure technologies, enabling them to communicate with each other and the vehicles that traverse upon them.  This interaction takes place by utilising two important aspects of technology:
Vehicle-to-Vehicle – Two vehicles in the vicinity are able to communicate with each other. It forms the basis of autonomous vehicles which utilizes sensors to detect the perimeter of a vehicle.
Vehicle-to-Infrastructure – A vehicle can communicate with the infrastructure like traffic signals to send and receive data that can be used and analyzed to ensure smooth traffic.
And now, here are a few scenarios as to how IoT can be functional in creating a Smart Traffic.
Smart Traffic Signals – Smart Traffic signals are the adaptive ones that can be modified for their signal timing according to the traffic flow. Using IoT and Big Data, real-time traffic flow can be gathered and analysed to manage the signalling for better traffic management. Similarly, the street lights can also be mounted with weather sensors to make them work according to the daylight and weather conditions.
Real-Time Traffic Feedback –  A Real-time traffic feedback can be of great assistance for drivers commuting on a certain route in order to either continue or take a diverse course. This will also help decide the peak and off hours on a given route and plan development accordingly.
Pedestrian Traffic – Traffic also comprises of pedestrians, joggers and others. Using technology, the traffic at intersections can be determined at a given time to ascertain the ratio of vehicles and pedestrians and traffic signals can be manipulated to suit the timings.
Traffic Decision Support – Connected vehicles and infrastructure can let vehicles on a certain route know about the current situation of the traffic. An accident or maintenance work can be easily picked up and broadcast to help drivers ascertain the time it is going to take them while traversing a route.
Parking – Parking, another big concern, especially in densely populated areas can be addressed too. IoT based sensors can feed real-time information about parking slots available near a vehicle. They can also let drivers estimate the time that will take them to find a slot and park safely.
There’s little doubt that IoT when implemented in a righteous manner, can help solve many traffic issues that most of the countries are facing. The key lies in improving the infrastructure of the cities so that they can enjoy the perks offered by technology. But addressing these issues like road plans, zoning, constructions is not an easy task.  The technology also demands high-speed internet connectivity, which again relies on basic infrastructure development because a fault at a single node can bring the whole system crashing down.
As cities evolve, develop, expand and embrace the growing population, it becomes impervious that they should be built on robust methodology and technology so that they can support the growing demand. The current services and infrastructure need to be re-evaluated and upgraded and upcoming plans need to be aligned with the goal of developing smart cities. And such a smart city would be incomplete without a technology-driven Smart Traffic System.

– Sneha Sinha

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