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Smart Transportation in Aarhus

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Smart Transportation in Aarhus

Better use of data is increasingly important in easing the flow of traffic. Aarhus is at the forefront of this movement, and I’m sure many more will follow their lead.

· AI Zone ·
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Earlier this year, I covered a new report from the Urban Transport Group on the powerful potential of open data to transform the way we move about our cities.

“Emerging data will mean transport users will become far more fully informed about their travel choices whilst at the same time transform the ability of transport authorities to plan and manage transport networks and services more efficiently and effectively,” it says.

This is increasingly evident in cities around the world. For instance, in Montreal, officials have teamed up with traffic management company Orange Traffic to install around 100 sensors on the busiest roads in the city. The sensors are designed to detect Bluetooth signals from the mobile phones of drivers and thus provide planners with a detailed, yet inexpensive method of monitoring traffic flow in the city.

By tracking the vehicle through multiple sensors, the team is able to detect the speed of the traffic as well as its direction. The data is sent to the Urban Mobility Management Center where it is analyzed to help ensure good traffic flow.

Smoother Traffic

A similar project has been underway for a few years in the Danish city of Aarhus. They’ve been using Bluetooth sensor technology developed by BlipTrack to monitor traffic levels throughout the entire road network in the city.

The city is using the data generated by the network to identify poor flowing traffic, and to hone in on the reasons for that, whether it’s road works, accidents or faulty traffic lights. What’s more, it enables planners to see in real time how current traffic flows compare with typical flows, at a minute-by-minute level of granularity. If the system detects an anomaly, a flag is raised and planners can do something about it.

It is also possible to create dashboards of each anomaly so that officials can gain a historical overview of where problems tend to occur, together with periodic reports based upon each deviation from the norm.

“The benefits we have gained from the solution since implementation are very significant. We now discover errors and irregularities that we would not have a chance to see otherwise. In addition, it is extremely educational and easily accessible to study how the incidents of various kinds influence the road network,” says Asbjørn Halskov-Sørensen, ITS Project Manager at Aarhus Municipality.

The system has already proven its worth, helping officials identify a number of issues, whether it’s faulty traffic light programs, defective surveillance systems or even simple human errors in the maintenance of traffic lights.

“BlipTrack data is generally used for much more than just being able to measure the effect of signal optimization and roadwork/construction projects, but this is clearly an important part of its application”, says Asbjørn Halskov-Sørensen. “Ultimately, the data contributes to an improved economy and a better environment through reduced driving times and fuel consumption, and thus reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.”

Whilst we’re still at a nascent stage, it’s clear that better use of data will be increasingly important in easing the flow of traffic through our cities. Aarhus is at the forefront of this movement, and I’m sure many more will follow their lead.

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