Traffic Light Forecast: Smooth traffic through better information
Stop-and-go traffic is not only annoying and causes stress. It also has a negative impact on the environment if vehicles have to accelerate and slow down repeatedly. What is needed is a solution that reduces congestion and makes city traffic smoother.
Challenge: technology for smooth traffic flow
City traffic means constant acceleration and deceleration. This is mainly caused by traffic lights and intersections and prevents any smooth flow of traffic. A solution to this problem requires traffic lights that can do more than just switch between three colors. Ideal would be a technical system that knows the traffic situation and the status of traffic lights and evaluates them accordingly. It would be practical to have an app that informs the driver of red and green phases and shows him his optimal speed until the next traffic light.
Solution: real-time data for predictive driving
Traffic Light Forecast (TLF 2.0) is a project related to the 2021 World Congress for Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) in Hamburg. The aim of the project is to develop an interface to the Hamburg Urban Platform, where the data of numerous traffic lights in the city area are made available for all kinds of applications. App developers, street map service providers and the automotive industry will be able to use this data freely, for example to develop a traffic light forecasting service and offer new services for cars, cyclists, pedestrians and public transport. The Traffic Light Forecast project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure with a total of 800,000 euros as part of the “Digitization of Municipal Transport Systems” finitiative. Partners in the project are the State Office for Roads, Bridges and Waters (LSBG), the State Office for Geographical Information and Surveying (LGV) and Hamburg Traffic Systems GmbH (HHVA). A first pilot project with around 70 traffic lights was started in 2017. For this purpose, the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (FHH) implemented a new switching time forecasting service with several partners. After successfully completing the test and optimization phase, a non-discriminatory provision of forecast data is planned.
Potential: New applications for smoother traffic
Typical applications are services such as Time-to-Green (TTG) and Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory (GLOSA). They are used, for example, by the SWARCO traffic light assistant. This smartphone app uses real-time information about the traffic light switching cycles in order to recommend to the driver the speed with which he can smoothly proceed to the next intersection.