VIP Priority showcase

Published:20-02-2020

VIP Priority showcase: Conditional traffic priority at the ITS Congress

Dynniq recently demonstrated its application of smart mobility services through a national standardised set of traffic interfaces. This demonstration was realised through the Talking Traffic project, which took place during the 2019 European ITS Congress in the city of Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Using this model, road users were able to ‘connect’ directly to traffic signal infrastructure in order to communicate and exchange information in real-time. Using this real-time connectivity, road managers can choose to prioritise specific groups of road users at intersections.

During the 2019 European ITS Congress, the organisers wanted to be able to transport visitors between the two sites, lying 15km apart; Eindhoven city and the Helmond Automotive Campus. The route to Helmond is a C-ITS Testbed, on which both short-range WiFi and mobile services for ITS use cases are able to be tested. The aim was to show how industry and Government had worked together in the Talking Traffic project to create a first set of industry-approved and agreed standards to be deployed to service smart mobility applications on this stretch of road. The resulting VIP Priority service allowed a total of eighteen cars and buses to be given conditional priority on the Eindhoven-Helmond route with a total of 13,000 priority requests generated over five days.

How does conditional priority work?

In the Talking Traffic multi-year innovation partnership, public and private parties work together on ‘talking traffic‘. The aim is to improve traffic safety, traffic flow and accessibility through real-time information exchange between road users and traffic systems – connecting road users directly to infrastructure. Priority is one of the use cases in the partnership, alongside Optimising and Informing. With more connected vehicles becoming available on the street (71% of new vehicles registered in the UK in 2019 are connected), in-vehicle services and connecting to infrastructure is on the rise.

To provide conditional priority within the Talking Traffic ecosystem, the resulting standards are applied to the latest intelligent traffic light controllers (iTLCs) and allow for connectivity to cloud environments and end-user devices (e.g. smartphones and embedded devices). By using an on-board app, our cloud data service and the latest iTLCs, road managers are now able to better control which vehicles receive priority at traffic signals. The cloud data service validates any messages received from connected road users and forwards these to the ITS application that run on the iTLC (e.g. ImFlow), which generates the Signal Phase and Time (SPaT) messages. When a vehicle with the app on board approaches an iTLC, it is matched onto the topology of that intersection, determining where the vehicle is and which lane it is in. In order to provide the vehicle with priority, the app requests this to be granted, after which the cloud data platform performs two checks: 1) can the vehicle on the relevant approach request priority and, if so, 2) which rules apply to this type of vehicle for the iTLC to grant this request?

The priority request comes in two forms: ‘Hard’ or unconditional priority, for emergency services, or ‘soft’ conditional priority for fleets of vehicles (e.g. trucks, passenger cars, or public transport). For every request received, our cloud data platform weighs the request against the total range of vehicles and any other priority requests it received simultaneously to determine which vehicle is given priority first.

VIP Priority

For the ITS Congress showcase, we did just that: VIP vehicles were only given priority when no ‘hard’ interventions were needed to sustain normal traffic flow and if the priority request was not compromising demand and available road capacity. This way, we maintain a balance between throughput on a primary corridor and demand from side roads, to avoid an overall net negative effect on traffic. All vehicles and shuttle buses that were deployed had the special GreenFlow app from Dynniq on board. This app shows the driver whether the vehicle gets priority at the next intersection. The driver also receives information about the time to red and time to green approximately 100 metres before the traffic light stop line, after which this information will then disappear from the screen for traffic safety reasons.

What is new about this service is that the information about the time to red and time to green is now transmitted via the Talking Traffic ecosystem and its associated standards framework – and is therefore visible in the GreenFlow app. Through an intuitive interface, the driver can see to what extent he needs to adjust the speed of their vehicle to be able to drive through green light.

Consequences for other road users

Through providing this information to drivers via the app, drivers are informed of the status of traffic signals and priority requests ahead of time, ensuring flow-through profit. The use of the service resulted in an improvement of 5 to 10 percent on the Eindhoven-Helmond route, showing that VIP Priority can be deployed without affecting the overall flow of traffic.

More information

We will be attending the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) exhibition on March 4-5 to talk about how we used a standardized approach to deliver in-vehicle traffic signal priority during this ‘VIP Priority‘ showcase at the 2019 European ITS Congress. Join us at the TTF Annual Conference! Register here