Traffic management systems around the world
Traffic management comes in all different forms. They are ways to ensure that drivers on our roads are safe and there’s as little disruption to a commute as possible. A study found that traffic jams can cause health issues, such as high blood pressure, anxiety, and depression. While listening to music is said to help avoid this, simply making sure the roads aren’t at a gridlock can be a better option.
However, what sounds like it could very well have a simple ‘generic’ solution certainly does not. Countries across the globe have their own take on how to best manage their traffic levels. In France, there are an abundance of toll roads, where the UK loves a roundabout and the US appreciates traffic lights. Here, with Lookers, who sell the 2018 World Urban Car of the Year, the Volkswagen Polo, we look at how some of the world’s major cities are combatting their own traffic issues.
Let’s start at home. The UK capital has introduced several schemes in a bid to tackle traffic. Recently, they provided an electronic journey planner for the public to use. This allows users to plan their perfect route using various modes of transport. It includes GPS tracking, taxi booking, and real-time traffic monitoring which can allow commuters a greater sense of freedom when it comes to choosing their ideal modes of transport.
As well as this, a congestion charge was introduced in 2003 by then mayor of London, Ken Livingstone. Originally £5 each day, the aim was to reduce traffic congestion in specific zones of the capital. In 2019, it’s currently an £11.50 daily charge between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. Also, in April this year drivers in London may be faced with paying an extra charge for driving in the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). You can find out more regarding the new congestion charges here.
The Swedish capital is the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries. To combat the crowds on the roads, an electronic road pricing was introduced. This was first trialled in 2006 following London’s similar introduction. Following its start-of-year trial, the Swedish government decided to permanently roll out the charge from 2007.
The cost of entering the billable zone depends on what time of day you drive through it, and whether or not it’s a public holiday. The maximum charge per day equates to just over £4, but failure to quickly pay will see this rise – and sometimes even be automatically deducted from your bank account.
During its first two years, traffic in this area fell by 25%, while the revenue gained by the tolls has gone towards improving other transport and transit services.
Public Light Buses (PLBs) were introduced as a way to complement the usual bus lines in Hong Kong and to serve traditionally hard to reach areas. They offer a non-stop, high frequency service. They are also introducing a cost-effective new technology to aid the economy and environment. Their Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) will collect and transmit information for the public in a bid to decrease congestion by decreasing traffic incidents and re-routing traffic flow around them.
Copenhagen is bidding to become the first CO2-neutral capital in the world by 2025. To do this, they need to have an ambitious plan in place regarding mobility, including making more than half of the commutes into the city centre by 2025 accessible by bicycle, foot, or public transport.
Rather impressively, Copenhagen is also implementing intelligent street lighting that reacts to traffic levels in an attempt to save energy.
The United States has some of the most congested roads in the world. While carpooling is popular stateside, other traffic management systems are required in an attempt to drive down congestion times. One way that has been rolled out in Atlanta, which was the eighth most congested city in the world in 2016, is the introduction of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology, including smart corridors. One part of this is adaptive traffic signals that can address traffic-congested roads.
A 2.3-mile smart corridor along the well-traversed throughway of North Avenue opened in September 2017. It was expected to reduce the travel time on the route by a quarter. This was made possible thanks to the likes of adaptive traffic signal technology and connected video cameras.
It’s clear that while we will always rely on our roads, traffic can be an issue for our environment and our personal happiness. It’s great to see cities and countries taking charge of their issues and trying to put a plan in place. It will be interesting to see how further developments can continue to help the world’s traffic management.