Traffic management can increase the efficiency of road traffic using new concepts of organizing and servicing traffic. As basis for the process to influence the traffic, adequate information about the current traffic situation have to be gathered. The tasks can be divided into different parts: the development of innovative methods for monitoring traffic (traffic monitoring), traffic simulation and forecast, the development of methods to influence traffic operations and quality in transportation. The work at the institute concentrates on the management of major traffic systems (e.g. metropolitan areas) and special events.
To monitor the traffic situation in big areas, (e.g. metropolitan areas) the institute develops new approaches and methods. The focus is set on monitoring via imaging techniques and the timely precise determination of the positions of vehicle fleets using so called Vehicle Probe Data (VPD).
The processing of visual data, to monitor objects, as well as the fusion of information, gathered by various sensors, form the basis to reliably understand and evaluate the situation. For this optical sensors can be placed stationary (UTRaLab) and on mobile platforms (Measuring Vehicles UTRaCar and MoMoCar). For the management of major events the usage of cameras systems on flying platforms is of special interest. An airborne system needs additional and sophisticated methods for locating and data transmission. These get more and more relevant in terrestrial approaches as well.
Vehicle Probe Data (VPD) is used to allow the timely precise determination of the positions of vehicles. This method uses existing infrastructure because big vehicle fleets are typically equipped with a dispatching system to guide them to new destinations. The accruing data can be used to measure travel times. This is valuable information for ITS applications, logistic and routing applications because travel times are virtuallyimmeasurable with conventional means.
Traffic Simulation and Prediction
An important tool to evaluate traffic management actions and to predict traffic is the traffic simulation. Since 2002 the institute develops the open source program SUMO which can simulate an investigation area in-depth (microscopically). The main focus is on the calibration and validation of traffic models and on the linking with real-world data.
The prediction methods used at the institute are either based on a simulation-driven approach or they work by recognizing pattern (pattern-based or rule-based prediction). The latter take advantage of the fact that in real-life traffic systems the operating grade is very similar every day and can therefore easily be quantified with mathematical methods
The research about traffic control covers the control and management of road traffic. Solutions for the integration, shaping and evaluation of road traffic data are developed and evaluated as well as strategies for the manipulation of traffic. Special emphasis is put on methods which are necessary for the traffic management of catastrophes and major events. Furthermore, the institute focuses on enhancing traffic simulation methods and quality evaluations of traffic management methods. These projects are supported by the large-scale plant Traffic Tower, a virtual traffic management control center.
An important aspect in the area of road traffic is the quality safeguarding of the traffic flow. This means especially: few traffic jams and overall short travel times for road users. Town councils, federal states and other decision-makers have the duty to ensure this from a planning standpoint by providing the infrastructure and from a strategic/operative standpoint by providing suitable traffic management methods. The institute supports this in theevaluation and in the estimation of consequences of management methods for the traffic manipulation. It also helps with the extension of data used as the basis for measuring and evaluating the quality by developing new methods for collecting traffic data. Especially by using the so called Vehicle Probe Data (VPD) the traffic situation and quality can be determined area-wide e.g. for a city. The effects of new traffic management methods can be analyzed and evaluated in detail using a before-after comparison. For this the institute develops important new methods and computer tools to support the analyses.