What would you do to avoid getting stuck in traffic? Some commuters leave at dawn to beat rush-hour traffic. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts. Literally.
Congestion costs every U.S. household $1,700 annually, according to a recent study by The Economist. These costs result from the time wasted by drivers and the fuel burned by idling cars while stuck in traffic jams. IoT traffic management systems provide relief by remotely adjusting traffic lights to speed traffic flows.
Architecting the solution
The traffic management solution design follows a proven IoT design model.
- What information needs to be collected? What type of sensors will be needed?
- How will the sensors communicate to the data aggregation platform?
- How will the sensor data be analyzed to determine what action to take?
- How will the endpoint device be adjusted with the insight gained?
Let’s see how this applies to intelligent transport systems.
- Inductive loop sensors—Insulated, electric wires are installed in the pavement to create an electromagnetic loop. Cars are detected as they drive by and impact the electromagnetic loop.
- Video surveillance cameras—Cameras are installed to monitor speed, bus lane usage, level crossings and carpool lanes. They are also used by law enforcement to provide real-time information on speed infringements.
- Traffic signal pre-emption transmitter—Public transport, law enforcement and ambulances are fitted with infrared transmitters to get priority access through intersections. Railroad systems also use transmitters at crossings to prevent collisions.
- Traffic information signage—Connected road signs and traffic information systems provide real-time information, such as road conditions, congestion, roadwork and accidents.
4G LTE offers the best connectivity for traffic management applications for the following reasons:
- The need for highly reliable and secure communications
- Software-selectable 3G/4G LTE support for multiple carriers in a single device
- Ability to work in harsh remote environments (-30 degrees to 70 degrees Celsius)
- Centralized mass configuration and remote troubleshooting of traffic systems
(This checklist explains how to select the right communication channel for an IoT project.)
Digi Traffic Management & Control System
The Digi TransPort WR31 4G LTE router is designed for traffic monitoring and control. Information is collected from roadside sensors, traffic controllers and cameras. The data is sent securely to Traffic Control Center (TCC) systems such as Intelight and Eberle Design via Digi routers and high-speed 4G LTE links.
The routers are remotely configured through software. This enables traffic operators to use just one cellular device along with the 4G LTE carriers that work best for a location. This reduces the need for onsite visits by service engineers.
Adjusting Traffic Flows
Information collected from sensors is analyzed along with rush-hour traffic patterns and any nearby traffic accidents. The results of this data analysis is used to automatically adjust traffic lights and optimize the traffic flow. Police cars, fire engines, ambulances and buses are connected with traffic control systems in order to get priority over other vehicles.
A connected infrastructure, however, introduces other risks because traffic lights could be hacked. Advanced cryptography for encryption and authentication helps secure traffic management systems from hackers. Systems are designed to comply with the Critical Infrastructure Program (CIP) from the Department of Homeland Defense, which ensures the security of vulnerable and interconnected infrastructures.
Here’s an amusing take on how to avoid traffic jams:
There still is no master cure for traffic jams, but thanks to new IoT traffic management systems, commuters can now sleep in a little longer.
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