Intelligent traffic regulation system in Terrassa will optimize public transport

November 20th, 2023

Researchers from the i2CAT Foundation, CERCA center for applied research in the field of new digital technologies, will lead the pilot test of an intelligent traffic regulation system at an urban intersection in the Catalonian city of Terrassa to optimize efficiency of public transport. The project will mainly work on the route of city buses, but also of emergency vehicles such as fire trucks, ambulances and police cars. This initiative will be one of the use cases of the 6GTWINROAD research project, registered in the UNICO I+D 6G program that finances the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation and the European Union through the funds of the Plan for Recovery, Transformation and Resilience of the Government of Spain. The companies Aimsun and ACISA are collaborating on the use case, planned for October 2024.

The system will be based on the creation of a vehicular digital twin that will allow traffic to be monitored and different levels of priority to be established for vehicle traffic based on an intelligent traffic light control plan. The researchers will install sensors on the road infrastructure to collect data from the vehicles driving on it. At the same time, the vehicles will be equipped with V2V and V2I technologies (communication technologies between vehicles and vehicles with the infrastructure) to be able to continuously evaluate traffic conditions (congestion, weather, traffic light plans, etc.). Based on this assessment, the system can make forecasts of the traffic situation or simulate the impact of a different traffic light plan.

“The priority in circulation will be decided based on the request of the buses and their specific situation, that is, their schedule and speed. The system will also consider the intensity of traffic and the occupation of the road by other private vehicles. The aim is to reduce the delay of buses with respect to the scheduled timetable and to limit the intensity and occupation of private vehicles on the road”, explains Francisco Vázquez Gallego, leader of the V2X research line at i2CAT.

The information collected by the system will be sent to traffic light regulators, who will make the final decision on whether or not to prioritize the decision suggested by the system. Finally, the decision will be notified to all the vehicles involved through standardized V2X messages (vehicle communication with the infrastructure).

“In the context we are in of global warming and climate change, from Terrassa we are very clear about the need to move towards sustainable mobility models. In this regard, we are very proud that the city serves to test a traffic regulation system that will allow in the future to improve the efficiency of public transport and take another step towards more environmentally friendly and safer mobility” , points out Xavier Cardona, Deputy Mayor of Mobility.

The main objective of this research project is to improve public transport in urban environments and overcome the current model, where public vehicles (buses and emergency vehicles) must coexist with private vehicles in highly complex traffic situations. “Currently, there are traffic management systems that assign a certain road priority to the bus, for example, by changing the traffic light plan in specific places in the city. However, this model does not take into account the state of the private vehicles that circulate, nor the impact of applying the priority of the bus over other vehicles on the road”, concludes Francisco Vázquez Gallego.

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