Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Telematics application controls traffic flow

By regularly signalling their locations to a central control which then manipulates the city's traffic lights, buses and emergency vehicles in Kolding, Denmark, are able to avoid getting stuck in traffic. The tool making this possible has been developed under the TRAPRIO proje...
By regularly signalling their locations to a central control which then manipulates the city's traffic lights, buses and emergency vehicles in Kolding, Denmark, are able to avoid getting stuck in traffic. The tool making this possible has been developed under the TRAPRIO project, supported by the EUREKA initiative.

Recent development within telematics make it possible to control and ease traffic flow much better than was possible only a few years ago. In addition, it is now much easier to smooth the flow of individual vehicles within traffic. These developments encouraged Kolding County to participate, along with Traffic Supervision Systems A/S, in a EUREKA development project.

The objective was to utilise new technology to locate buses and emergency vehicles, with the aim of providing priority at traffic lights to vehicles at specific traffic light intersections.

The system functions with an Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) System, which locates the vehicles based on battery-less tags embedded in the road and signals from the vehicle's odometer. Tag-reading equipment installed underneath the vehicles reads the ID codes in the tags and transmits them, together with odometer readings, to a main station. This main station registers vehicle type, decides priority for buses in accordance with timetables, and sends a priority request to the individual traffic light controllers at each relevant traffic light intersection.

Depending on when the priority request is received, the traffic light controller decides whether priority should be granted by extending a current green light, or whether the green light in the "hostile" direction should be cut short in order to provide a green light to the vehicle requiring priority.

According to Kolding County officials, providing priority to buses and emergency vehicles at traffic light intersections improves the traffic flow. Emergency vehicles are granted unconditional priority, while buses are only granted priority if delayed. Today, similar tags are already in use for, among other things, automatic identification of containers in connection with land and sea transport.

The first stage of the project was completed in 1998 and the second stage is now ready to launch. The project is expected to run until 31 December 1999.

Source: Kolding County Technical Administration

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