GPS-based congestion charging test concluded successfully
The trial, conducted in Eindhoven over a period of six months, had been organized by local traffic authorities along with NXP and IBM. The goal was to provide decision criteria for measures against traffic stalls in the entire country.
In the trial, GPS data transmitted from the vehicles to a backend server were processed by a map-matching algorithm. Thus, the system could determine the traffic load in all roads and streets involved in real-time. The driving route data then were sent back to the client.
The client was an electronic platform developed by NXP – the ATOP (Automotive Telematics Onboard Unit Platform). It combines GPS, security and a number of additional functionalities on a chip, along with interfaces for CAN and USB as well as a GSM/GPRS wireless data communications unit. This programmable unit has been used before as the technology platform in several road pricing field trials, and also the Eindhoven trial gyrated around road toll: By means of the data provided by the backend server, the on-board unit can compute several alternatives for the route to take – with the price depending on the current traffic density.
Price and distance were the decisive factors for the users. According to companies involved, 70 percent of the drivers changed their behavior and avoided the peak times if the system provided the right motivation – it simply was more expensive to drive during these peak times. The effect was that the traffic peaks had been mitigated.
According to Maurice Geraets who oversaw the trial for NXP, the expectations have been exceeded. “Cooperation partners NXP and IBM have logged more than 200.000 driven kilometers. The results show that the system is completely operational.”
The technology permits to assign costs to drivers with the toll sum depending on a number of parameters such as type of road, time of the day, and environmentally relevant vehicle properties.
IBM contributed its vast experience with congestion charging systems – the company has already implemented such systems in Stockholm, Brisbane, Singapore and London. In the Eindhoven trial however, for the first time GPS data from the cars were included into the computations.
NXP pointed out that the ATOP platform is designed for more applications than just electronic toll but also for automatic issuance of emergency calls (eCalls), Stolen Vehicle Tracking (SVT) and Car-to-infrastructure communications.
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