Less traffic jams, better air quality – metropolises all over the world pursue the goal of offering their citizens a livable surrounding. Taiwan’s capital Taipei on the way to becoming a Smart City. Especially in the field of mobility and traffic, it has already made great progress. To ensure optimum use of road network capacities and keep emissions and vehicle delays at a minimum, smart traffic lights are now helping to optimize traffic flow.
In Taipei, most people travel either by public transport (43%) or by car (40%). However, streets are still congested and during rush hour, commuters are spending hours in traffic. Particularly affected are the Neihu and Nangang districts, where many companies and offices are located in different technology parks.
How do traffic lights get intelligent?
In 2019, the authorities in Taipei decided to tackle this problem and use smart traffic signal optimizations to improve traffic flow. Taipei City Traffic Engineering Office commissioned the company TMS Technology with the project. At eight intersections in Neihu and Nangang, intelligent adaptive traffic signal systems using PTV Balance, a software solution that continually optimizes the traffic lights, was installed.
The software tool identifies any changes in the traffic patterns and reacts to what is happening on the road based on real-time traffic flow data from detectors, like micromirror radar and AI-based identification system. Green time splits, offsets and cycle are adjusted accordingly.
The smart traffic lights even go one step further by automatically designing a range of signal control options and sending the optimized signal plans to the local controllers in a 5-minute interval.
In both districts, Neihu and Nangang, the implementation of the smart traffic lights optimization system was a success. The total average travel time has seen an overall improvement of 7.9%. Based on the analysis of the intersection, the delay on weekdays and public holidays has been reduced with an overall improvement of 12.6%, indicating a significant improvement on the traffic efficiency. In addition, the overall saving on fuel consumption annually is 318,269 liter per year and annual CO emission reduction is 101.1 mt/year, CO2 emission reduction is 720.2 mt/year.
A spokesperson from DOT Taipei said, “We are pleased to work with TMS and PTV Group to implement this intelligent adaptive signal optimisation solution. With PTV Balance real-time traffic optimization, we see a more efficient travelling with less traffic congestion in Neihu and Nangang, thereby transforming Taipei into a more efficient, sustainable smart city.”
Mr. Tim Chen, managing director from TMS, also added that it is evident that the existing infrastructure is oversaturated and is unable to withstand the increasing demands on Neihu and Nangang district. He said, “When we look at the lowest traffic speed in Taipei, the main roads on these two districts are amongst the top 10. At the start of this project, we thought that this may be a challenge for PTV Balance solution, but this was proven otherwise, and its adaptive functions have substantially optimized the network.”