One important development within Talking Traffic is that road users not only communicate with one another, but also with the infrastructure. With a maximum delay of one second. Within the Partnership Talking Traffic, a new generation of intelligent traffic light installations (iTLIs) has been developed, that know which cars, cyclists or buses are approaching them. This fact makes it possible to harmonise traffic flows more efficiently, via dynamic traffic light controls. iTLIs are also able to give ‘priority’ to certain traffic flows above other, for example cyclists, emergency services or public transport. The traffic light can also automatically ensure that a convoy of trucks can pass through green in one light change. This reduces stopping and starting thereby saving time, fuel and CO2 emissions, as well as money. It has been calculated that society overspends to the tune of 90 million euro a year, because not all traffic lights are adjusted often enough. New iTLIs constantly adjust the settings, automatically. In other words, the investment pays for itself very quickly.
For information about traffic lights you do not need a new car. Every car of every marque and every navigation system and every smartphone can be linked to every intelligent traffic light installation from every supplier. All the technology and interfaces comply with international ETSI standards (SPaT, MAP, CAM, SRM, SSM, DENM).
Road users profit directly from the iTLI. They receive better in-car advice via information services about the fastest route through the city or the speed that allows them to pass through a series of traffic lights unhindered. Residents of urban areas also reap the benefits. If a truck stops and moves off, a large amount of fine particulate is emitted. Because a truck driver knows the speed at which he will be able to pass through lights at green, without having to brake, air pollution is reduced, and fuel consumption falls. Information about what road users can expect means they are also able to anticipate, so that traffic flows more smoothly with less congestion, thereby improving all-round quality of life and safety. By using data from the vehicles themselves, intersections equipped with iTLIs require far fewer detection loops in the road surface.
Within the Partnership Talking Traffic chain, in which iTLI suppliers, cloud service providers, developers of information services and government authorities are collaborating closely, the iTLI represents a vital link. Until recently only restricted data was available about the traffic situation at traffic lights, while these are the locations where traffic often becomes gridlocked. Cloud services can combine the new iTLI data with a whole raft of other data, thereby improving the current applications and developing new opportunities. Service providers for their part are able to advise their customers far more precisely via their information services on the fastest route and recommended speed at traffic lights.
The national Traffic Light Exchange (abbreviated to TLEX) is the central point for the automated exchanging of real-time data between the new smart traffic light installations (iTLIs) and road users. The presence of TLEX places the Netherlands at the front of the pack. TLEX is the place where millions of data messages pass backwards and forwards between road users and intersections. Data from all iTLIs (in other words from all suppliers of traffic light systems) are accessed via TLEX, thereby generating national coverage.
Five features of an iTLI:
- The traffic light is connected via the regular cellular telecommunication network;
- Technology and controls (hardware and software) are disconnected;
- Controls are optimally harmonised with the real-time traffic situation;
- An iTLI delivers data (such as time to green) for information services (for road users);
Both technology and interfaces are internationally ETSI standardised and as a result identical for all suppliers of iTLIs, smartphones and cars.
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