How the Internet Of Things can help build Smart Traffic Control Systems
2.) Components of a Smart Traffic Control System
A smart traffic control system is one which identifies the current traffic conditions and controls the timing of the green and red signals accordingly. Therefore, for the development of a smart traffic control system, one will require a mechanism for detecting and measuring the current volume of traffic in each lane. Here are the three basic components of such a smart traffic control system-
- Sensor – Any sensor that is able to provide accurate data regarding the current volume of traffic in a lane is suitable for this system. For the sake of an example, this could be a set of cameras mounted on the different traffic signals or a drone that captures images of all the lanes in a periodic manner. The resolution and range of this sensor should be sufficient to capture all the vehicles in the lane up to the desired distance.
- Detector – The images captured by the camera then need to be transmitted to a detector which uses the image data to determine the current density of traffic. This could be a microcontroller programmed to run any state of the art edge detection algorithm that can count the number of vehicles captured by the camera. This edge detection technique will periodically calculate the number of vehicles in each lane, to determine the green time for a lane in each cycle.
- Timing Logic – Now that the current traffic data is available to the microcontroller, it needs to use the same to determine the green time for a particular lane. This can be done with the help of a timing logic, for example, the microcontroller could be programmed to set the green time as 60 seconds if the number of vehicles is greater than 15, of 40 seconds if the number of vehicles is between 8 and 15, and of 20 seconds if the number of vehicles is less than 8. This is a very crude logic which can be further polished and improved as per the traffic statistics of a particular intersection.
With these three components in place, a traffic control system will be able to adapt to the current traffic conditions in a much better manner than the basic traffic control system described in the previous section. It will reduce unnecessary wait times for the other lanes when a particular lane is fairly empty but may still not be able to produce the best possible results due to the hard coded values of traffic levels and the corresponding green times.
In the next section, we will discuss how we can utilize the traffic data to create a much smarter and optimised traffic control system.
3.) How to Fine Tune Intelligent Traffic Control Systems