[IEEE Xplore] Readings on Smart Cities -- [Editorial] Vol. 2, Issue 3, March 2016

Traffic Control & Management Systems in Smart Cities

By Rosaldo J. F. Rossetti

Traffic problems such as congestions, long queues and delays, are not new to urban areas and are not exclusive to larger cities. Urban traffic control (UTC) and traffic management systems (TMS) have experienced enormous evolution throughout the years, since the first traffic lights were implemented in the second half of the 19th century. As the number of vehicles on the roads increases with population, traffic control and management strategies should be revamped so as to meet contemporary and future mobility demand. While preserving their original purpose of optimising throughput and guaranteeing quality of service, key ingredients of urban smartification, such as information and communication technologies (ICT) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are now explored to leverage the new-generation UTC and TMS. In this issue of Readings on Smart Cities, we have selected three articles that give a renovated view to traffic control and management issues from the urban smartification perspective.

We start with a survey presented by Djahel alongside others [1], in which authors present a thorough review covering various technologies used in different phases of TMS. They also discuss the potential use of smart cars and social media to enable fast and more accurate incident detection and mitigation, and briefly present current initiatives in Europe and worldwide to foster progress in smart transportation. Security threats, open challenges, and trends are also considered in their discussion. Misbahuddin and colleagues [2] approach traffic management issues from an IoT angle. In the practical scenario of the holy city of Makkah, in Saudi Arabia, where traffic flow is very affected by the continuous visitation of pilgrims throughout the year, authors suggest new and more robust controlling algorithms and strategies should be implemented. In their proposed view, traffic flow can be dynamically monitored and controlled in a number of different ways, such as by onsite traffic officers through their smartphones, or centrally through the Internet. Recently, the concept of ACP (artificial system, computational experiment, and parallel execution) has been applied to different dimensions of the so-called intelligent transportation systems (ITS). In the third article by Zhu et al. [3], ACP is used to ground the implementation of parallel transportation management and control systems, whose main components include social signals, social traffic, ITS clouds and services, agent-based traffic control, and transportation knowledge automation. Authors discuss details of their architecture and illustrate the approach with a case study.

Urban smartification offers a lot of potentials to the implementation of more efficient traffic control and management systems and additionally stirs up a bunch of other issues and concerns. On the one hand, challenges underlying the design, implementation and deployment of smart UTC and TMS have attracted the interest and attention of public authorities, academia, and industry alike; on the other hand, the principle of “citizen participation” inherent to smart cities represents both an opportunity and a concern. Whereas UTC and TMS can greatly benefit from a rather collaborative participation of citizens proving information on traffic congestions and incidents, for instance, new security and regulatory issues should be appropriately addressed.

Good readings!


IEEE Xplore References

  1. S. Djahel, R. Doolan, G. M. Muntean and J. Murphy, "A Communications-Oriented Perspective on Traffic Management Systems for Smart Cities: Challenges and Innovative Approaches," in IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 125-151, Firstquarter 2015.
  2. S. Misbahuddin, J. A. Zubairi, A. Saggaf, J. Basuni, S. A-Wadany and A. Al-Sofi, "IoT based dynamic road traffic management for smart cities," 2015 12th International Conference on High-capacity Optical Networks and Enabling/Emerging Technologies (HONET), Islamabad, 2015, pp. 1-5.
  3. F. Zhu, Z. Li, S. Chen and G. Xiong, "Parallel Transportation Management and Control System and Its Applications in Building Smart Cities," in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 1576-1585, June 2016.


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