Many of the components associated with the deployment of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) to support a traffic management center (TMC) such as remote control cameras, traffic speed detectors, and variable message signs, have been available for many years. Their deployment, however, has been expensive and applied primarily to freeways and interstates, and have been deployed principally in the major metropolitan areas in the US; not smaller cities.
The Knoxville (Tennessee) Transportation Planning Organization is sponsoring a project that will test the integration of several technologies to estimate near-real time traffic information data and information that could eventually be used by travelers to make better and more informed decisions related to their travel needs. The uniqueness of this demonstration is that it will seek to predict traffic conditions based on cellular phone signals already being collected by cellular communications companies. Information about the average speed on various portions of local arterials and incident identification (incident location) will be collected and compared to similar data generated by "probe vehicles". Successful validation of the speed information generated from cell phone data will allow traffic data to be generated much more economically and utilize technologies that are minimally infrastructure invasive. Furthermore, when validated, traffic information could be provided to the traveling public allowing then to make better decisions about trips. More efficient trip planning and execution can reduce congestion and associated vehicle emissions.
This paper will discuss the technologies, the demonstration project, the project details, and future directions.