Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting Out Of The Heat: Traffic Congestion "Temperature" Could Forecast Problems And Help Drivers Avoid Lengthy Delay

Date:
December 13, 1999
Source:
Georgia Institute Of Technology
Summary:
The Weather Channel has brought to forecasting weather what a Georgia Institute of Technology researcher hopes to bring to predicting traffic congestion. People plan their days according to the weather forecast, but they can't do that with traffic -- at least not quite yet, said Dr. John Leonard, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

The Weather Channel has brought to forecasting weather what a Georgia Institute of Technology researcher hopes to bring to predicting traffic congestion.

Related Articles


People plan their days according to the weather forecast, but they can't do that with traffic -- at least not quite yet, said Dr. John Leonard, an associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Leonard is developing a cutting-edge traffic flow model that analyzes a variety of historical data and a host of variables to predict the next day's traffic conditions. He calls it a traffic congestion "temperature." The model will also estimate current travel times from point to point.

"People need a simple-to-understand number -- even if it doesn't have a physical meaning -- to represent traffic congestion," Leonard said. "We need to publicize it daily so people start to develop a personal understanding of congestion and plan accordingly."

Leonard is creating his model using the past two years' data from traffic surveillance systems -- such as the Georgia Department of Transportation's 300-plus video cameras installed on freeways in metro Atlanta. The model also incorporates data from commonly used loop detectors on roadways.

One byproduct of Leonard's research is a graphic representation of congestion. For each day of data, he is creating "star" diagrams that graphically show travel time estimates from various points of origin to any of the five points on the "star" created from a map of the city's major highways. Then he will examine the data for trends and try to correlate them with variables such as special events, hotel occupancy, time of day, holidays, schools in session, weather and, of course, vehicle accidents. An analysis of this information, combined with current traffic conditions, would then yield a prediction of traffic congestion for the next 24 hours.

In Atlanta, the points of origin would be major workplaces or centers of activity, such as Tech, Coca-Cola, the airport and malls. The travel time estimates on Atlanta's "star" diagram would go to: Interstate 285 at I-75 north; I-285 at I-85 north; I- 285 at I-75 south of the city; I-285 at I-85 south of the city; and the airport.

Leonard believes if people became familiar with a traffic "temperature," they would change their travel behavior and ultimately lessen traffic congestion.

"Many people have the flexibility to plan their trips according to traffic congestion," Leonard said. "With this sort of pre-trip information, people could decide whether to leave now or wait 10 minutes. . . . This could spread the peaks out a little and improve travel times for everybody."

Leonard sees a particular benefit for people who make a lot of discretionary trips and a benefit to couriers who might be able to reschedule or reroute deliveries.

Publicizing the traffic congestion index will be key to its having the intended effect. Leonard envisions freeway message board, radio, television and Web site distribution. In fact, he has an early prototype for Atlanta available online at: http://traffic.ce.gatech.edu/trafficweather.

"We're not ready for prime time yet," Leonard said. "We have to work on getting the prediction close. I want to be accurate 90 to 100 percent of the time."

Besides the obvious short-term benefits of a traffic congestion index, long-term benefits would include better traffic planning for the future. This information should also be integrated with ozone pollution forecasting, work that is also ongoing at Georgia Tech, he added.

Leonard's research is now funded internally at Georgia Tech. He has discussed the work with officials at the Georgia DOT, and they are providing historical data. He also hopes to capture the interest of the newly created Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). Leonard believes the traffic "temperature" model would fit GRTA's plans for congestion indicators.

Full implementation of the traffic congestion index is probably several years away, Leonard said. Though Atlanta will be the testbed for the index system, it could be implemented anywhere.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute Of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute Of Technology. "Getting Out Of The Heat: Traffic Congestion "Temperature" Could Forecast Problems And Help Drivers Avoid Lengthy Delay." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991213050349.htm>.
Georgia Institute Of Technology. (1999, December 13). Getting Out Of The Heat: Traffic Congestion "Temperature" Could Forecast Problems And Help Drivers Avoid Lengthy Delay. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991213050349.htm
Georgia Institute Of Technology. "Getting Out Of The Heat: Traffic Congestion "Temperature" Could Forecast Problems And Help Drivers Avoid Lengthy Delay." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/12/991213050349.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

3D Printed Instruments Make Sweet Music in Sweden

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Students from Lund University's Malmo Academy of Music are believed to be the world's first band to all use 3D printed instruments. The guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums were built by Olaf Diegel, professor of product development, who says 3D printing allows musicians to design an instrument to their exact specifications. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins