Due to both expanding populations and the European Single Market, the number of people travelling by road, both within and between cities, is set to increase in the years ahead. This presents an enormous challenge to the authorities responsible for the future of cities and their transportation networks, as inadequate traffic planning and management can cripple urban centres with massive traffic jams.
Fortunately modern information technology is well-suited for helping to solve many of the problems posed by increased traffic congestion. Whilst in some cases new roads and traffic systems may be necessary, many cases of traffic congestion can be avoided by employing more efficient management of the traffic system. This is the approach that EU 58 - EUROPOLIS has taken.
The products were to be developed for the control of high-capacity/limited access road networks (urban accesses and motorway corridors) based upon integrated signal and variable sign control. New and improved products located at the roadside (signing systems and intelligent outstation) were to be based upon a new specification of intergrated hierarchial control covering access and lane control, isolated and coordinated-ramp metering and diversion strategy formulation.
The control centre developments were supposed to include the application of traffic modelling software for integrated plan evaluation and off-line and Real-Time congestion prediction.
Information management tasks involve the specification of interfaces for data capture from operators in adjacent control areas and other actors within the control area, plus the application of artificial intelligence techniques for plan identification and prioritisation.
Hardware and software developments related to the following products were in progress:
- variable message sign panels;
- variable sign controller;
- loop data processor;
- intelligent outstation (inc. AID algorithms);
- traffic prediction/Plan evaluation tool;
- ramp metering tool;
- tidal flow/lane manager;
- message text tool for incident management;
- alternative routes algorithm;
- operator interface(s);
- system Integrator module.
Modern and intelligent human interfaces. - urban and interurban traffic information systems - intelligent Road Infrastructure Systems - fleet vehicles management Systems. A basic systems development philosophy implemented for the city, intercity information were involved:
City: - incident detectors - flow identification - situations forseen - optimization of the urban system - flexible signalization - information optimalization needed for fleet vehicles - vehicle identification and routes' characterization in general - priority to social vehicles treatment - planning and oriented urban programmes - data communications management (mobile) - civil protection and safety information - parallel processing computer development - embedded in total Metropolitan Automation/information system - integrated Intelligent information processing on a distributed Expert System philosophy - knowledge-base Handling for traffic applications - built-in Expert System (main and distributed, HW) - flexible close control loop system (with new advanced signalization and information panelling) - city tool control and monitoring - Artificial Intelligence for communication management (network) - information handling * city data (traffic/environment) * process data * Real-time data treatment * System control data * correlated and for processed data of the zones/districts/city loops * trend information * diagnostic support information * data simulation treatment * data retrieval and transformation of bibliography of other departments * Tracking of vehicles' multiple direction.
There was a need for an integrated system using new technologies such as sophisticated, movile communications, radiolocation, knowledge base handling, fleet vehicles on-board computer systems, traffic expert systems, new intelligent detectors and sensors, integrated fast metropolitan communication area networks and urban environment control. The most formidable goal of the project was to create an expert system solving urban and environmental problems, making intelligent interfaces between converging systems and users as intelligent aid system controls.
- there was a need to disperse new developments in the field under reference when available;
- the opportunity of the market lies in developing a standard that encourages its growth;
- the market was large enough (city services, traffic, fleet vehicle equipment, etc.);
- advanced technologies that can be translated into system or integrated products, service and engineering with a great potential market involved.
The consortium that fulfils their requirements shall take a leading position in the market. The market distribution was:
- Europe: 70%
- U.S.A: 10%
- South America: 5%
- Far East: 10%%
- Middle East: 5%
- Africa: 2%