Can we apply the “swarm intelligence” of starlings to traffic and transport?
Our road authorities use centralized mobility management to control and correct the traffic flows but the DIT4TraM research project asks, “Can we learn from the starlings and stop regulating centrally and top-down, and instead start regulating locally and bottom-up?”
The DIT4TraM project, Distributed Intelligence and Technology for Traffic and Mobility Management, is focusing on individual travelers, connected cars, smart bicycles, and intelligent traffic control systems. The team is exploring how we can get these agents to communicate and interact locally in such a way that they automatically contribute to the greater goal of a smooth and safe traffic flow.
The overarching aim of DIT4TraM is to develop, implement and test a generic distributed control paradigm, applicable at the level of traffic operations, mobility management, demand-supply synchronisation and shared mobility, including advanced monitoring, estimation and (machine learning) forecasting technology, and associated algorithms for a variety of novel multi-modal management and mobility concepts operating at all urban scales.
A holistic approach to decentralisation, distribution and mechanism design for monitoring and control is proposed, aiming to achieve social optimality, yet with only necessary information exchanges, which is further translated into four key application fields corresponding to four interlaced urban scales carefully selected to ensure that all relevant challenges are tackled.
Pilots in several cities across Europe are testing the DIT4TraM concept, assessing market potential and designing business models. Our vision is to support the transition to seamless and sustainable connected and autonomous mobility by disentangling the system components to the highest extent possible, yet ensuring sufficient cooperation and emergent coordination by smart system design, leading to liveability, safety, resilience, efficiency, as well as privacy, participation, fairness and sustainability on a city scale.