200 taxis as traffic observers in Graz
The question is Gordian. How can traffic flow be improved in a typical European city, let’s say in Graz? By improving the traffic light system? Of course. By adapting the road network? Certainly. Graz complements with 200 vehicles of a local taxi fleet, acting as permanent traffic oberservers and deliverers of data for accurate traffic management. The advantage? They are already driving and are a good complement in the collection of data and localisation of where the problems are.
DATA COLLECTION VIA TAXI
The core element of the new system are the more than 200 vehicles of the taxi fl eet 878. They are all GPS-equipped and act as permanent traffic observers that report the actual traffic data to the taxi headquarters. This so called “Floating Car Data“ data are put into a traffic modell that should allow a fairly accurate prognosis of the
future traffi c situation.
- We mainly benefit from a system that is already running: the taxis, says Fritz Busch from the Technical University of Munich who has been consigned by the city of Graz to develop the
As with many astonishing ideas Fritz Busch was inspired by nature. The neural network is the starting basis for the system, it gathers and processes information via different sense organs and makes us react and understand. The Traffic Monitoring System follows the same principle: it consists of different data sources and performs highly sophisticated fusion and integration tasks.
So far so good. But: How does the information come to the end user,
i.e. the driver?
- Of course the raw data has to be filtered to guarantee reliability and plausibility of the data. A taxi that is not always driving, it could be blocked in a congestion or waiting for passengers, explains Fritz Busch.
As a consequence the system has to be highly fault tolerant and fail-safe as well. Then the information allows reliable prognosis of the future traffic status. This means for the end-user that he will be able to get information on the current traffic situation via the internet and also by mobile phone.
MINUS 15 % REDUCTION OF TRAVEL TIME
From the political point of view the goal of this project is clearly defined:
- We want to reduce the travel time by 10–15 %, says Gerhard Rüsch, City Councillor of Graz.
Traffic Monitoring by Taxi Floating Car Data is only one part of a whole bundle of measures which should contribute to achieve this goal. Establishing an Advanced Traffic Signal Control is also on the task schedule of the city as well as the acceleration of public transport. In terms of the traffi c lights there are two main
focuses: the optimisation of control in order to improve traffic performance and the possibility to make automatic strategic decisions in case of congestion and accidents.
Winifried Höpfl , Stadt Graz, +43 316 872-3626