There are various ways of knowing what’s ahead when you’re stuck in traffic: Dynamic Message Signs, radio reports, real-time traffic info and apps. But the information is only as good as the data, and Continental recently took steps to help improve traffic flow data by becoming a strategic partner with the Urban Software Institute.
Founded in 2012, the Urban Software Institute developed UrbanPulse, an open data platform that helps cities collect and aggregate data from transportation infrastructure. Continental technology called eHorizon that “turns vehicles into both recipients and senders of anonymous traffic data” will be tied into the UrbanPulse platform, enabling “drivers and vehicle electronics to benefit directly from real-time traffic and traffic light data,” according to Continental.
The first test project is already under way in Darmstadt, Germany, where live traffic light data is made available to drivers. Similar to a technology Audi recently debuted, Continental and the city of Las Vegas have also tested how traffic light data can improve traffic flow.
But rather than wait until enough new Audis and vehicles with Continental’s eHorizon technology are on the road, individual cars and fleet vehicles can also contribute to traffic data. Using this anonymous data on the position and average speed of vehicles, cities can optimize traffic-light phases to improve traffic flow and even assist emergency vehicles in reaching a destination more quickly, and all in real-time.
The detailed statistical data on vehicle flow patterns can also help urban planners establish future requirements for roads to improve traffic. Continental says that the traffic-flow data can also be “used to create and operate new services on the basis of standardized interfaces for smart applications.”
“With increasing urbanization, intelligent traffic planning and control is becoming increasingly important for drivers and cities,” Ralf Lenninger, manager of the Intelligent Transportation Systems business unit at Continental, said in a statement. “The interconnectivity between city and vehicle is therefore the key to an attractive urban environment in the future.”
“Progress is being made in the digitalization of urban infrastructures,” added Professor Lutz Heuser, co-founder and general manager of Urban Software Institute GmbH. “The urban data generated in the process is very interesting for many new mobile services and business models.”
And will be interesting and useful for those stuck in traffic.
Originally published by Forbes.com