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Smart traffic system to feed more data to navigation apps
Flanders is developing a new smart traffic system, which will help navigation apps give better advice and ultimately improve the way traffic is managed. The government is investing €29 million to develop the system, called Mobili-data.
At the moment navigation apps such as Waze, Coyote, and Mobilis base their advice on routes and journey times on information collected from other app users. But there is a lot more data out there that could be useful to them, collected by sensors at traffic lights, for example, or through loops embedded in the road surface.
If the apps could tap into this data, their calculations would be more accurate and better reflect actual traffic conditions. “Our entire traffic system generates an enormous amount of data,” said innovation minister Philippe Muyters, whose department is providing the money to develop Mobili-data. “If it is used wisely, individual traffic users will benefit enormously, with fewer traffic jams, shorter journey times and lower fuel consumption.”
The initial aim of Mobili-data is to bring all the relevant traffic information collected by the public authorities together, process it in a uniform way and then make it available to existing apps. The benefits for drivers are also benefits for the government, since more effective apps will improve traffic flow, reducing both tailbacks and pollution.
A second phase of the project will consider ways to reverse the flow of information, so that data from different apps can be brought into the Mobili-data system. This input from individual drivers will allow traffic management systems to be refined and become more responsive to changing conditions.
“Mobili-data will make our traffic smoother and safer,” said mobility minister Ben Weyts. “For example, the database can be used to alert drivers to unmoving traffic ahead. Traffic flows will also improve considerably. The intention is to roll out this technology on a large scale in Flanders.”
Ultimately, the system could help change driving altogether. “In the future, Mobili-data can also be used to guide self-driving cars through traffic without accidents,” Muyters added.
Photo: Getty Images