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With globalization and the need for mobility fueling traffic growth all over the world, the problem of congestion on highways and in cities is becoming more and more acute. Besides economic losses running to an estimated US$10 billion a year in industrialized countries, traffic congestion is also causing higher noise and pollutant levels that are becoming a major burden for people and the environment. Smart traffic information systems like Siemens’ Sitraffic, though, are helping people and goods to reach their destinations quickly and safely while at the same keeping traffic’s environmental impacts in check.
One of the challenges facing highway operators today is how to manage long-distance passenger and goods traffic more efficiently. They need to keep traffic flowing smoothly, avoid accidents and congestion, and help reduce fuel consumption and emissions. Just how much can be done today to overcome this challenge and balance mobility, safety and environmental needs is exemplified by numerous instances in which operators have successfully deployed our industry-leading traffic management technology and solutions. The latter include smart traffic management systems that can monitor factors like traffic speed and density and, when traffic volumes increase, impose speed limits and open up hard shoulders to help maintain the flow.
In cities, too, the ability to respond precisely and flexibly to changing traffic levels can reduce the impact on people and the environment. With roughly one-third of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by 2030, investing in smart traffic management solutions makes sense. In a survey conducted with Siemens’ support, 25 of the world’s largest megacities stated that traffic was by far their most pressing infrastructure problem. The average speed on roads in Mexico City, for instance, has dropped to 11 kilometers per hour – around the same as in 1910, when horse-drawn carriages were still on the roads. Cutting down the amount of stop-and-go involved in urban driving could bring down fuel consumption by as much as 20 percent and cut nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 50 and 33 percent respectively. Managing urban traffic sustainably therefore means aiming to enable drivers to ride a wave of green lights. This is posing a sizeable mathematical challenge for Siemens researchers, but in Warsaw, Vilnius, Copenhagen and Münster, adaptive traffic signal control has been shown to successfully reduce traffic’s environmental impact by several hundred tons of CO2 a year.
|More efficient use of road capacity|
|Shorter journey times|
|Significantly fewer accidents|
|Fewer and shorter periods of congestion|
|Reduction of waits and stops in urban traffic by up to 45 percent|
|Monitoring environmental parameters facilitates compliance with statutory pollutant limits|
|Fuel consumption up to 20 percent lower|
|Carbon monoxide emissions down by as much as 33 percent|
|Nitrogen dioxide emissions down by as much as 50 percent|