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Technology Used To Improve Traffic Flow And Road Safety

April 21, 2009
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
The MARTA project develops technological solutions to the growing problem of traffic congestion, making driving a safer and more comfortable experience for all road users.

MARTA project.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

The Research Group in Mathematical Programming, Logistics and Simulation (PROMALS) and the Seat Chair of Innovation and Sustainable Development (Seat-UPC) create technological solutions to improve traffic flow, make driving safer and more comfortable, lower the accident rate and reduce traffic congestion and emissions of contaminant gases.

New advances will see vehicles equipped with sensors and interfaces which gather information on the traffic situation and display it on screen or alert the driver through automated voice announcements. The Seat-UPC Chair is involved in designing and fitting human machine interfaces (HMIs) and running automated tests of the electronic systems used in the MARTA project, which incorporate new technologies such as specialized image recognition applications.

New on-board sensors will be able to monitor the status of mechanical components such as brakes when a vehicle is in motion, while others will provide automatic control of driving speed and the distance maintained from the vehicle in front. Interfaces will enable data to be shared between vehicles, providing updated information on their position and speed every 200 meters. A system of nodes installed in the road network transmits the data to a mobility management center, where they are processed and used to maintain traffic flow by providing real-time information on congestion spots and suggesting optimum routes in the event of an accident.

The PROMALS group, attached to the Department of Statistics and Operations Research at the UPC, is looking at ways of using the data received by the management center. Its researchers are designing simulated traffic scenarios in which to test the new technologies developed under the MARTA project: a recent example is a traffic priority system in which the real-time data are used to determine the ideal intervals between traffic light phases across a given area, which optimizes traffic flow and reduces congestion.

The MARTA project has a budget of over thirty-five million euros and receives funding from the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI). The project, scheduled for completion in 2011, is coordinated by the company FICOSA as part of a wider program run by the National Strategic Consortium in Technical Research (CENIT), and brings together experts and researchers from nineteen companies and nineteen scientific centers and national universities.

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Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "Technology Used To Improve Traffic Flow And Road Safety." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 April 2009. <>.
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. (2009, April 21). Technology Used To Improve Traffic Flow And Road Safety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 26, 2017 from
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "Technology Used To Improve Traffic Flow And Road Safety." ScienceDaily. (accessed March 26, 2017).