Smart traffic systems help ease congestion

It is unlikely to be of much comfort when you’re next in a traffic jam to know there is a plethora of traffic monitoring and management technologies out there trying to detect the build up of traffic and help you on your way.

Not that the whole area of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) is at a crossroads. For a long time, inductive loops buried in tarmac were the only source of help, transmitting vehicle data to a public authority – and it is still used in many many places. A simple twisted coil of wire under the road detects whether large metal objects pass over the surface. Two inductive loops close together can help ascertain the speed of the vehicles.

More recently, public authorities have begun to recognise the virtues – and the drawbacks – of smarter, non intrusive technologies. For example, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems are using ever more sophisticated control systems and more sensitive imaging technologies, radar based systems suggest it is sometimes better without sight, and applications using wireless communications technologies, notably Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, are being developed. … (Read more)