It is estimated that a peak time commuter in Bangalore spends an extra 10 days and three hours stuck in traffic each year, compared to the time they would have taken if they were commuting during uncongested conditions. Bangalore ranks 10th among 25 congested cities in the world, as per TomTom, a Dutch location technology specialist (https://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/traffic-index/ranking/). The number of motor vehicles and corresponding travel demand is continuously increasing with economic and social development. Due to limited land resources, this rising demand means that the traffic congestion is only going to rise.
Traffic interventions are the only solutions that can be used to improve this challenge! The students of IIIT Bangalore have explored a roadway into this challenge! Meet Vijay Jaisankar, Vignesh Bondugula and Siva Jagadesh of iMTech, 2019 batch students, who have developed an Adaptive Traffic Control System (ATCS), a solution that automatically adapts the timings of traffic lights based on real-time traffic conditions to optimize the flow of traffic. They have proposed an algorithm that predicts the appropriate placement of the Adaptive Traffic Lights (ATLs). They have also introduced traffic interventions and a test-bed for metrics, which means traffic intervened by using Self-adaptive Control Systems that adjust the signal timing parameters in real-time depending on the traffic. This can help regulate traffic flow, improve congestion, and even reduce emissions.
Their research work when presented at this year’s Simulation of Urban Mobility(SUMO) User Conference, it won the ‘Best Presentation Award’ too. The conference aims at presenting new and unique results in the field of mobility simulation and modeling using openly available data and the SUMO package. It also brings the community of people working in the area of traffic modeling and simulation together. This conference attracts applications from across the globe and only the best based on reviews
make it to the presentation stage. Jagadesh, Vijay and Vignesh are beholden to Prof. Srinath Srinivasa, Dean (R&D) and Jayati Deshmukh, Ph.D scholar for their guidance and support in developing such a breakthrough technology.
Electronic City was Chosen for ATCS
“We chose the Electronic city network because E-City is an IT hub, with many unique features in its road network. Also, our institute is in this area and there is an interest to test and implement different traffic interventions by the authorities. In most companies, typical work hours are 9 AM to 6 PM. So, there are pronounced morning and evening peaks in traffic that exposes many choke points in the network. There is a 9KM long flyover bridge, that is also a national highway; the ends of which are the typical entry and exit points of the network. There are various types of roads – main roads, B roads, etc which further complicates the situation,” says Vijay.
Despite massive infrastructural changes, such as building bridges and metros, traffic has never really eased in any city across India. So some new technology should come to the rescue to ease traffic. Different traffic interventions like using ATLs provide an effective approach. Says, Vignesh, “The ATL method already has a lucrative market and is effective, as demonstrated in various countries like Singapore, and the United Kingdom. However, ATL technology is very expensive and can be used selectively and judiciously. In this project, we provide the top-k ideal traffic lights to be made adaptive in a network. We have open-sourced the package titled Traffic Interventions which is available here too (https://github.com/WSL-IIITB/Traffic-Interventions)”. Working on this project was nothing short of a roller coaster ride and a good learning experience for these students. “Working on this project was filled with fun and learning, and it was a pleasure working with Prof. Srinath and Jayati Deshmukh. If anything, this project was like a traffic light – the red zones forced us to think critically; and the green zones were made even better by the amazing team,” sums up Vijay.