Sydney: M4 Smart Motorway System


Aimsun Live for traffic management

The NSW Government is investing $600 million in the M4 Smart Motorway project, which will introduce intelligent technology to a 48-km stretch of the M4 Motorway and its arterial roads.

The aim is to integrate real time information, communication and traffic management tools so that motorists can experience a safer, faster and more reliable journey. A journey with fewer stops and starts also means lower fuel consumption, which will help to reduce emissions.

For the Sydney M4 Smart Motorway deployment, Roads and Maritime Services selected Tyco (now Johnson Controls International plc) as systems integrator and Aimsun Live as the decision support system for managing traffic in real time.

This is a landmark project for Aimsun Live: not only is it the first smart motorway for NSW but it is the first simulation-based predictive system ever implemented in Australia.

Aimsun Live for traffic management

Network features

New ITS installations in the M4 Smart Motorway include:

Variable Message Signs on the motorway and approach roads

These electronic signs inform drivers about expected travel times and traffic conditions ahead, allowing them to plan their journey better or choose an alternative route.

Ramp metering on entry ramps during peak periods

These are quick change traffic lights that manage the flow of vehicles entering the motorway. They make merging safer and smoother and reduce the risk of drivers having to brake suddenly.

Integrated Speed and Lane Utilisation Sign (ISLUS)

To open and close lanes in response to incidents and to vary speed limits if there is heavy traffic, an incident or bad weather.

Additional traffic sensors and CCTV cameras

To continually monitor traffic conditions. As the primary input to Aimsun Live is every variety possible of detection data, these sensors are critical.

The role of Aimsun Live

Unlike traditional analytical forecasting processes, Aimsun Live (which is based on the simulation of individual vehicles) combines the best of simulation and data analytics.

Via Johnson Controls’ Meridian ITS platform for monitoring and controlling transport systems, Aimsun Live can emulate the M4’s intelligent transportation policies like ramp meters, variable speed limit and variable message signs. Aimsun Live provides Meridian with analytical predictions, continuous monitoring and on-demand Response Plan Evaluations, with one-hour forecasts set at 15-minute intervals.

Aimsun Live also has an interface with the Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) for reading detection data and real-time traffic signal controller status, which means that it can accurately emulate the SCATS traffic signal logic in over 700 intersections.

This system allows traffic control room operators to make short-term predictions about the likely levels of congestion and also to compare alternative response plans and make the best choice of congestion mitigation strategy.