According to the Juniper Research report the increase in urban population, which is set to continue rising over the next decade, combined with the rising number of urban vehicles, is having a detrimental impact.
Juniper Research defines smart traffic management as: The use of digital technologies to manage vehicular traffic for the purpose of driving efficiencies, reducing congestion, and/or minimising harmful emissions.
Juniper Research says that smart traffic management systems and smart parking are a vital part of smart cities.
“Smart cities offer long-term visions for traffic management by optimising transportation logistics and reducing congestion. Most smart cities utilise an array of devices and sensors – ranging from connected traffic lights to emergency dispatch systems, to smart parking meters to generate real-time insights into traffic patterns that, subsequently, can be used to manage traffic and vehicular movements throughout the city,” Juniper Research notes.
“The implementation of real-time data can be used by municipalities to manage traffic congestion by optimising road routes and, in turn, cutting down commuting time. Data can be used for intelligent syncing of traffic signals and providing drivers with real-time alerts, which can be shown on either their mobile applications or on their dashboard.”
On parking, Juniper Research says that real-time traffic data from connected cars can be beneficial for parking applications.
“A large amount of a city’s traffic can be attributed to people looking for a parkingspace. Smart parking solutions can reduce this by highlighting available parkingspaces through signage and dashboard notifications. This will lead to fewer cars circling searching for parking; keeping the traffic flowing and reducing the amount of emissions,” adds Juniper Research.
With the implementation of smart traffic management and data gathered from connected cars, cities are better able to predict car accidents and reduce fatalities,” says Juniper Research on what it calls “emergency situations”, adding that “adaptive signalling and varying speed limits will be able to help drivers mitigate dangerous situations, as well as aiding emergency response vehicles”.
According to the research, the investment into smart traffic management will help with mass transit in cities and the data will not only enable cities to plan efficient routes and prioritise certain modes of transportation, but it will also be able to keep the system running smoothly in the long run, with it being easily adaptable.
The research also reveals that urban development policies are in place to achieve a balanced development for all aspects of urban life – physical, social, and economic – in a comprehensive manner - and smart traffic management will provide data for the planning of future urban areas, while analysis of historic traffic data will be able to help growing cities map more efficient road systems.
Juniper Research says that with the introduction of MaaS (Mobility-as-a-Service), it will be beneficial for cities to plan holistic urban mobility systems, instead of regulating each mobility service independently.
“In order to get the most out of smart traffic management systems and MaaS, city governments must understand the challenges and opportunities of multimodal integration, as well as creating a governance and regulatory framework that provides clear signal for how the transport system should evolve to support social, environmental and economic goals.”
Juniper Research says that for a smart traffic management system to live up to its full potential, it should be ideally implemented during the initial stage of the urban planning process.
“This is due to the fact that existing infrastructure is not designed with smart traffic management systems in mind, and therefore, it does not allow them to reach their full potential and deliver the maximum benefit for both stakeholders and the public.
“The late-stage addition of a smart traffic management system to an already existing infrastructure may also cause more financial strain and disturbance to the area than if it had been implemented during the early stages of planning.
“Smart traffic management systems are highly advanced, so they require multiple layers of technology, which governments lack the expertise in; leading to difficulties in identifying and selecting the right mix of solutions.
“Unfortunately, the vast majority of cities were built before the advent of smart technologies, meaning that the aforementioned challenges will exist when a city wishes to retrofit their existing infrastructure with smart traffic management technologies.
“The practicalities of installing sensors, hardware, software, etc, will not be the biggest hurdle; it will be the management and transition to smart capabilities whilst keeping disruption for existing stakeholders to a minimum, as well as mitigating threats to system integrity and data security.
“It is vital that technology should not be applied just for the sake of it being there. Inorder for cities to implement smart traffic management systems, there must be a clear understanding of what they want to achieve, and knowing how the system will address and accomplish those goals.
“It is also important that cities avoid implementing solutions that become obsolete quickly or worse, vendors and private organisations proposing technologies that result in the city becoming dependent on them for future support. By opening ecosystems to a wide pool of vendors and developers, cities will benefit from more innovative services and encourage innovation and interest from a wide range of stakeholders, partners and developers through hosting events such as conferences and hackathons,” Juniper Research says.