A 2008 study conducted by automotive research agency Polk predicted that by 2010, there would be a combined fleet of one billion cars and trucks in the world. This will also affect the economy in several significant ways. Already, urban congestion is an unpleasant effect of the world’s growing mobility. The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that on average, people lose between 17 and 55 hours annually due to traffic congestion.
Not directly visible to the general public, but perhaps the most important innovation to help reduce traffic problems, is smart traffic management. Modern traffic management adopts a proactive model with real-time, constantly updated data to prevent congestions, accidents and offer information to drivers. Data from many types of sources, some of which are sensor-only and analog, need to be correlated in real time with digital data such as camera feeds. A traffic center can use this information to make accurate recommendations on the optimum speed of traffic, or redirect it through more efficient routes, so that congestions can be reduced to a minimum.
Vast amounts of data, one decision-making center
The true challenge to make informed decisions is making sense of all data at a glance. Modern innovations are overcoming usability hurdles through a parallel evolution towards integration with IT platforms on the one hand, and an increasing user comfort on the other hand. With a networked visualization system, operators can monitor their display content in real-time from anywhere in the facility, or even across multiple facilities. A fire that impacts traffic can be fought much quicker if police, traffic management and fire departments have instant access to the same sources and can coordinate their efforts efficiently.
Transport Directorate of the Welsh Assembly Government, Cardiff, UK