Solutions to Reduce Traffic Congestion
With a pandemic threatening our world right now, congested highways tend to be a thing of the past. That is, however, far from the case. As soon as life returns to normal, traffic congestion will return in full force, and city governments will face enormous challenges in traffic supervision.
Large and small cities can experience day-long traffic congestion and much longer travel times. Such issues primarily impact ordinary citizens, and any city seeking to become smart must first address them. Here are several genuinely “smart” ways to combat overcrowding and ease congestion in city areas using smart city technology.
These are applicable to cities of all scales and have already been successfully implemented by many city councils.
Traffic Light Optimization
Smart digitization and programming could be used to monitor traffic lights in small and large cities alike. Road capacity can be easily boosted when traffic lights co-ordinate optimally and respond to request in real-time. Smart traffic lights may also be programmed to react appropriately to situations such as blockage or gridlock. All of this can be accomplished with professional expertise of the non-linear interaction between flow of traffic and delay.
Parking Zone Extension
The increase in traffic congestion in urban areas is largely due to a shortage of parking spaces. Except in larger cities, supervised parking zones are restricted to major thoroughfares. Typically, there is an unbalanced combination of resident parking, pay and view parking, and restricted wait parking zones.
Extending parking controls away from downtown and creating smart parking zones, also in less congested areas, is the most efficient way to reduce congestion. To improve their accessibility, these parking zones will include virtual permits, one-hour time limits, and regular patrols by civil law enforcement officers.
Use of Autonomous Vehicles
Although autonomous or self-driving vehicles will not alleviate congestion quantitatively, they will assist in traffic supervision in a more advanced manner. Smart cars can avoid collisions, find new routes to a destination, platoon seamlessly, and gather data about free and vacant parking zones to determine the best parking space without the need for human interference. Furthermore, smart vehicles can remove traffic congestion caused solely by human error. All of which, when combined, decreases both travel time and traffic congestion.
Tracking of Pedestrian Traffic
Smart city traffic management authorities do not openly presume that car traffic is the sole cause of problems. If pedestrian traffic is ignored, it can be just as dangerous. Cities such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas have recognized this and are using vehicle to infrastructure technology to track pedestrian traffic and redirect car traffic appropriately.
The data gathered in this manner can also be used to optimize traffic lights in order to improve road safety. For example, Los Angeles is making the data gathered accessible to real estate developers and city planners in order to assist them in constructing residential complexes in less congested areas.
Use of Drones
This is one of the best smart city technology solutions for reducing traffic congestion. Most tasks that previously required supervisors, maintenance and delivery professionals, or city officials to ride in vehicles can now be completed using drone cameras thanks to the invention of IoT-based drones.
Smart cities that use drones to perform minor maintenance and observation tasks can significantly reduce the number of buses and trucks on the road, particularly during peak hours. Even private businesses, such as Amazon, are playing with drone-based delivery in crowded areas, and there’s no reason why governments can’t follow suit.