Today, Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) services are an important technological and organizational foundation in a wide range of road transportation applications. The networking of these systems, driven by the increasing importance of information and communication technology, poses new challenges for the introduction of new ITS services and the integration of existing ones. To ensure intelligent mobility, the continuity of information and the associated integration of the corresponding systems is an important prerequisite. The traditional highway management in Hungary misses the opportunity to act-before-you-see action technique due to insufficient data collection and exchange. Therefore, modern ITS services should be integrated.
Dual nature of traffic jams
The traffic jams have a dual nature: caused by events or caused by driving behaviors. However, driving behavior-based jams and their associated impact curves heavily rely on human drivers’ characteristics, which are expected to be gradually replaced as autonomous driving technology advances. But the introduction of traffic model-based software products improves traffic operators’ understanding of predicted traffic conditions during event-based jams and the ITS based traffic management tools can evaluate these on network level as well. Now, the emergence of crowd-sourced data, along with robust data collection, exchange and fusion engines opens the door to investigate the traffic jams on the highways in a broader context.
Best practice in Hungary: proactive intervention
Hungary has made significant progress in the field of intelligent transport systems. It was one of the first in Europe to complete the first C-ITS vehicle-to-infrastructure communication pilot on the M1 motorway as part of the CROCODILE project. Between 2013 and 2022, the three phases of the CROCODILE project were decisive in the development and renewal of domestic traffic management systems.
In addition to establishing a second level of coordination, an important objective was to integrate as many external data sources as possible (e.g. fleet data) and to move Hungarian traffic management from the current reactive to proactive intervention. This requires the use of traffic forecasting models.
Traffic forecasting models avoiding traffic jams
Using the PTV Optima real-time traffic management system, experts were able to create a software system and the underlying model for Hungary’s network of main roads and highways. The system was primarily designed to support road traffic management but was also capable of generating multimodal and intermodal route forecasts. It collected and analyzed information from real-time data sources, especially to support traffic control centers. The system also required an offline base model. This model was created in PTV Visum software: a macrosimulation model including the road network and static demand matrices.
Paper on future traffic management in Hungary
Ultimately, the traffic models created will form the basis for future traffic management activities at Magyar Közút. The planned new generation traffic management system will use them to evaluate different scenarios and select the proposed intervention. It takes managing traffic to a much higher level and adds a new element of forecasting. In addition to the technical perspective, the exchange of information between the actors involved was a key element of the tasks. Tamás Attila Tomaschek, Department of Automotive Technologies, Budapest University of Technology and Economics, and Gergely Fehér, FŐMTERV PTE Ltd, summarized the project in a scientific paper “Exploring traffic jams of the future highways” It presents the current best practice in Hungary but also gives an outlook to the probable change in terms of ITS intervention techniques.