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Why turn to ATMS to solve traffic problems?

Why turn to ATMS to solve traffic problems?
To solve traffic problems and optimize road usage, more and more city operators turn to intelligent transportation systems, of which advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) are a key subcategory.
Needless to say, traffic congestions on roads and highways are a source of headache for municipalities and drivers alike. To solve traffic problems and optimize road usage, more and more city operators turn to intelligent transportation systems, of which advanced traffic management systems (ATMS) are a key subcategory.
It goes without saying that globally, urbanization is in full swing. As more and more people now live in cities, various problems ensue as a result, for example crime and waste, among others.
Transportation-related issues, too, cause headaches for both municipal operators and drivers. In particular, traffic congestions on roads and highways happen on a daily basis in major metropolises. This can be a tiring and emotionally draining experience for drivers as they get stuck in traffic while going to work or returning home.
Further, traffic congestions and related issues can bring down a city’s livability ranking, putting it at a less competitive position. “We have started to classify cities according to quality of life, and the time it takes to get to your job, the time you spend in traffic, exposition to pollution … those are big factors for quality of life,” said Eric Toffin, CEO of Citilog.
One way to solve these transportation problems is to build more infrastructure, yet for many cities with limited space, that’s not feasible. Using technologies to optimize existing road usage and reduce traffic, then, is the way to go.

"In the simplest terms, gridlock is an economic problem; too many vehicles competing for too little infrastructure. That said, the best and most sustainable solution is not more infrastructure," said Christian Chenard-Lemire, Team Lead for Intelligent Mobility at Genetec. "Understanding the causes of congestion on a roadway is the first step.  However, addressing the symptoms of the problem requires a spectrum of additional data to help agencies be proactive in their approach. To get there, they need to understand the broader factors at play.  For example, are public transit or parking issues leading to problems on the roads?  A solid solution is one that can help connect, correlate and contextualize what is happening across the whole city network – not just on the road system itself."

Turning to ATMS

This is where intelligent transportation systems (ITS) can come in handy to help solve various traffic issues. ITS is a large umbrella and includes various subcategories, including advanced traffic management systems (ATMS), which work by way of collecting data generated by roadside sensors and turning them into actions, such as signal change, information dissemination and emergency response.
In ATMS, the sensors are quite diverse and can include Inductive loops, meteorological sensors and radars. Then, more and more, video surveillance cameras equipped with analytics, either onboard the camera or at the backend, are used as sensors for vehicle counting and classification. Irregular activities, such as vehicles stopped at a certain part of the road or traveling in the wrong direction in a particular lane, can also be detected.
Basically, ATMS has several primary functions, which are summarized as follows.

Traffic management/control

Once a congestion is detected by sensors or cameras, ATMS can help reduce the congestion by opening other lanes and rerouting traffic to those lanes. Specifically, ATMS can play a role in adaptive signal control whereby the length of red light or green light is controlled by ATMS based on the amount of traffic at the time.

Traffic monitoring/information dissemination

With ATMS, traffic situations can be monitored at all times, and in the event of a congestion, the information can be delivered to the driver in various ways, including through his or her smart device or through a roadside variable-message sign. With third-party apps alternative routes can be planned and delivered to the driver.

Emergency response

As mentioned, video surveillance cameras are now widely deployed on road infrastructure, transmitting live feeds to the control center. The ATMS can then instantly detect accidents or other incidents, prompting operators to deal with the situation accordingly. With advanced analytics, operators don’t have look at the feeds all the time and will only be alerted once when something happens.

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