AKTIV Project Aims to Increase Highway Capacity By 10 Percent

July 12, 2010
The AKTIV research project is applying modern traffic management technology to help increase road capacity by 10 percent and reduce the probability of traffic congestion by 15 percent

The AKTIV project, a research project underway in Germany, is attempting to build a network for information exchange between all parties involved in traffic and transportation. The goal is to use the road network in an efficient and optimal manner, to improve traffic flow and reduce the number of traffic jams and road accidents.

"We are developing a network that enables traffic management systems to interact with in-vehicle information and assistance devices as well as with infrastructure units," explains project manager Michael Ortgiese, vice president research & innovation at PTV Germany.

Future traffic management will allow vehicles and gantry signs to communicate with each other. An information network between drivers, vehicles and roadside infrastructure is the key. New technologies will combine traffic information centers, roadside infrastructure and intelligent vehicles.

"Our aim is to reduce the probability of traffic congestion by 15% and to increase road capacity by 10%," says Ortgiese. For almost three decades PTV has been focusing on optimization technology for traffic and transportation. As a member of the Aktiv research team, PTV provides technology for traffic information collection and processing, for road network optimization and dynamic navigation included in cooperative vehicle-infrastructure systems.

"A completely new approach is used which includes infrastructure such as gantry signs, traffic signals or construction sites in the information cycle in order to enhance traffic management," says Ortgiese. So-called roadside units fitted to gantries collect information sent from passing vehicles. It will also be possible to directly transfer traffic information to the vehicle and to use driver assistance systems for further data processing. Faster provision of information proves to be particularly valuable regarding road safety near construction zones.

Adaptive navigation is an application in networked traffic and transportation. The navigation system analyzes data from traffic information centers and services. Additionally, it permanently receives information about traffic conditions and travel speeds of other road users. Moreover, it can take strategic route recommendations into account.

The virtual traffic guidance system of a traffic management center edits the vehicle data and the data collected by stationary units, such as induction loops or sensor systems. The recommendations are then transmitted to the vehicles by means of gantry signs, roadside units and a central service platform.

All information available was gathered in the central data pool developed by PTV. Strategic recommendations and up-to-date traffic information are included in a coordinated package of measures. The aim is to provide consistent information displayed on gantry signs and navigation devices that allow drivers to follow the recommendations, and thus to ensure optimal use of the road network.

The traffic management team develops a cooperative system that includes the following elements:
● A network optimizer selects the best traffic management strategy based on the current traffic conditions and presents the optimal way of getting traffic through the network.
● After distributing the data and information by means of the information platform, the adaptive navigation system displays the best route through the network.
● The virtual traffic guidance system stabilizes traffic flow and the construction site guide guides drivers safely through the construction zones. Should traffic comes to a halt on the motorway, intelligent traffic signals will optimize traffic flow on the diversion routes.

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