Connected vehicles and intelligent IT improve traffic flow in Eindhoven

February 22, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
A road trial conducted in the Dutch city of Eindhoven shows that real-time sensor data can improve traffic flow and help to avoid congestions. Connected cars shared braking, acceleration and location data. The analysis of these data enabled local traffic authorities to identify and resolve road network issues.

The trial showed that anonymous information from vehicles can be analysed to resolve congestions and similar problems faster, reduce congestion and improve traffic flow, said Ab Oosting, European Union project manager for the Collaborative Region of Eindhoven SRE. "By receiving the information in real time, road authorities can utilize mobile technologies to immediately deploy emergency response teams and road workers to resolve issues. Traffic centre staff can promptly respond and manage traffic flows away from accidents and dangerous traffic situations," Oosting said.

The city region of Eindhoven (SRE) is located at the hub of several international transportation routes, where relatively small incidents can have major consequences for the system as a whole. The European Commission recently adopted an ambitious Road Safety Programme, which aims to cut traffic deaths in Europe between 2011 and 2020 by 50 percent. Experts believe that intelligent transport solutions (ITS) can play a significant role in improving road conditions and safety. The 12-month trial was designed to provide the regional government with insights to maintain roads, reduce traffic congestion and increase road safety. The technology for the trial was contributed by chipmaker NXP and IT services company IBM.

With greater connectivity, today's automobiles generate a vast amount of data that can be used to enhance the driving experience, while improving traffic condition and road safety. For example, with IBM MobileFirst , which combines the power of mobile and cloud-enabled technologies, the same sensors that alert drivers about low tire pressure or broken lights can also automatically provide insight into traffic patterns.

During the trial, IBM, NXP and its partners equipped 200 participating cars with a device containing NXP's ATOP telematics platform that gathers relevant data from the central communication system of the car (CAN bus). Relevant sensor data - that were indicators of potholes or icy roads - was collected in-vehicle and transmitted to the cloud-enabled IBM Smarter Traffic Center.

Using analytics, raw data from the