Collaborative crowd-sourced data streams and free-to-use traffic information platforms, can optimize traffic flows to benefit all road stakeholders.
Cities now face severe mobility challenges, and with many across the globe increasing in size, traffic challenges are also becoming greater, Drivers in London, for example, can expect to spend 38% of their travel time stuck in traffic at any time of the day, and up to 45% in evening peak periods. These delays can add up to 149 hours — more than 18 eight-hour working days — of extra travel time per year.
Traffic jams can also have serious effects on economies and societies, costing industries billions of dollars a year in lost productivity. The environmental impacts of additional C02 emissions and increased fuel consumption from slow-moving traffic are also huge.
It could be argued that traffic control is only necessary in extreme situations, such as emergencies and ‘where there are road users, to minimize road users’ exposure to hazards and danger. In most other cases, road users and stakeholders making better informed decisions may be more efficient than active traffic control, but such informed decisions can only be made when the right information is made available to them. TomTom, in support of road authorities, aims to provide all road users with the best information possible.
A ground-up view
Traffic congestion occurs when road infrastructure cannot meet the immediate demands of the traffic using it. Therefore, congestion is linked to drivers’ choices to use particular roads at particular times. If drivers’ choices are the cause of congestion, then they may also lie at the heart of the solution.
TomTom believes that one of the most effective means of sustainably addressing traffic congestion is for agencies to make better use of available data to help drivers proactively optimize their journeys.
When this data is fused with traffic information, shared and then used by drivers for better decision making, the road network can be employed more efficiently: Ultimately data can help drivers become part of the traffic management solution, rather than part of the problem.
When the data that is available to authorities is merged with open traffic information, the next challenge is to gain the support of road users so that they can use it to their advantage and work toward optimizing traffic flow.
The effectiveness of these platforms is limited for two main reasons, First, their Information is not tailored to individual drivers’ needs, so it is not relevant for everyone on the road; and second, by the time drivers see the shared information it may be too late to change their travel plans, take a different route or depart at a different time.
The future is collaborative
One way to overcome the data disseminating enriched traffic information via service providers who have access to in-car communication systems. As the number of connected vehicles on the road increases, along with the emergence of semi- and highly automated driving, the preferred means to keep drivers informed is via in- car platforms, which help to optimize drivers’ journeys by making the best route-planning decisions for them.
The journey times for drivers using TomTom’s personal navigation devices can be reduced by up to 15%, and with in-car systems becoming more widely used, a ‘collective effect’ will further contribute to lessening congestion on busy road networks.
To this end, TomTom introduced a global innovative traffic platform, TomTom city (city.tomtom.com), earlier this year. TomTom City is accessible online, and was created as a starting point to encourage closer cooperation between stakeholders to optimize traffic and travel information which can be incorporated at an individual level into cars or traffic management centers.
TomTom City provides city authorities, transport planners, business owners and private motorists with insight into transportation behavior city-wide, bringing together an eco-system of TomTom partners who share a common vision. TomTom City aims to reduce traffic congestion for everyone by offering new ways to manage city mobility through unparalled trend analysis, traffic visualization and real-time congestion monitoring and simultaneously help both drivers and traffic operators to make smarter decisions to avoid delays on the road.
At the same time, fleet companies can save money by ensuring their vehicles spend less Timein traffic and get to their destinations faster. Individual drivers can also save time and money, enjoy a more relaxed navigation experience and minimize their Environmental impact.