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    Exploring all aspects of mapping and geography, from field data collection, to mapping and analysis, to integration, applications development, enterprise architecture and policy

Traffic Congrestion, LBS and ITS

Posted by Dave Smith On 8/14/2010 12:33:00 PM 9 comments

For something along a different theme, given my extremely late (1:30AM) arrival back in Pennsylvania last night, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and Congestion Management.

Previously, I had been involved in a few projects involving Intelligent Transportation Systems - and yet, it still amazes me how far behind we are in terms of even basic approaches.  Last night, I was stuck in traffic due to an unfortunate accident ahead on the roadway.  My immediate observations:  A state trooper was sitting on the side of the road, with his mandate to alert drivers and monitor the end of the queue for problems.  However, where he was situated, as so often happens, was past the last exit available where motorists could get off the interstate and find an alternative.

Had he been situated ahead of that last exit, I and so many other motorists with onboard GPS could quite easily have hit our "DETOUR" buttons and navigated around the congestion rather than end up in the midst of it.  But instead, we end up stuck, and the congestion and queue only grows and grows.  Poor congestion management.

Secondly, a police cruiser sitting on the side of the road certainly alerts drivers of something.  However, it doesn't give any specificity whatsoever.  Perhaps, it was just that the trooper stopped a speeder, et cetera.  Often they are sitting well behind the congestion queue, and sometimes it's not immediately evident that there is congestion ahead.  Opportunity for informing motorists is lost, and the situation is not mitigated and managed as well as it could be.

It would seem to me that there are any number of relatively simple ways to address and mitigate congestion as a result of an accident or other similar traffic event - we certainly have ample technologies available.  For example, a portable variable message board that could rapidly be deployed by troopers (as in the photo), or other alerts.  There are numerous Variable Message Sign (VMS) boards along interstate corridors, yet amazingly, to this day, they still are largely uncoordinated, where messaging is not propagated along the corridor across district or state boundaries.  Highway officials still seem to not recognize that roadways are functionally networks, that internal administrative boundaries are not appropriate barriers as far as motorists are concerned.

It would also seem that protocols like CAP messaging, GeoRSS and others could and should be leveraged, and combined with very simple, wireless digital broadcast technologies, aligned to highway advisory radio beacon broadcasts, to provide simple, low-cost means of transmitting location-based information to in-dash receivers, GPS units and so on.  Certainly some such systems exist, however via subscription, or at additional cost to the price of the receivers, and so on - however, perhaps a better business model for such as broadcast system could operate via public-private partnerships, where operators of hotels, restaurants and amenities could fund the system by providing basic information about available attractions and amenities when there are no highway incidents.  A perfect case for Location-based service (LBS) technologies.  This does not have to be a costly, complicated thing.  We already have all of the ingredients and have had them for several years.

9 Response for the " Traffic Congrestion, LBS and ITS "

  1. Good article. And Go PSU!!!

    Twitter: @ConnectedCar

  2. Chris says:

    An all-too-common complaint of those of us spending time driving in PA, and probably for those of other states as well. Our DOT and State Police do not understand the value of real-time or even near-real-time info. They have the tools to implement, just not the will. How many times have I been frustrated to see the flashing lights indicating a message on traffic radio (e.g. 1640 AM), and to hear the recording of something....from last week.

  3. Thanks for the post!
    I read your post and could just say that accidents can occur anywhere but we need to be aware about it and should co-operate with people so that any further miss happening can be prevented. Sales territory mapping can be used to get information about any thing happening in the same area.

  4. There should be competition so google earth or its competitor will work better to makes its maps fresh.

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  5. Google earth is not update its images for many years in different areas. Any way it was great achievement from google, which we should not forget.

    - Tanya
    Web Design Firm

  6. Anonymous says:

    Look up traffic messaging systems, also in future pnd devices will talk to each other.

    what you need is dedicated traffic management which is what some large cities use leveraging traffic cams, aerial surveillance, reports and traffic management centers.

    Change management in networks has to do with speed of updates and availability and currency of sources as well as cost. It is an issue of data and engineering solutions on a live basis which is costly.

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