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The first in Russia comprehensive experiment on application of adaptive traffic control - a step towards creation of ITS Nizhny Novgorod

On April 6, 2008 a pilot project was launched in Nizhny Novgorod on the creation of the traffic adaptive control system facilitated by the Department of Traffic Safety affiliated with the Ministry of Interior of the RF, Nizhny Novgorod Department of Transportation and Communications, Directorate of the State Traffic Safety Inspectorate of the Ministry of Interior of the RF (UGIBDD GUVD) for Nizhny Novgorod Region. A traffic controller was put into operational testing, which is able to provide traffic control in real time based on the current traffic situation. Additionally, a system was implemented for traffic flow automated control and statistical data collecting, as well as an innovative technology for remote optimization of control modes on a traffic controller.

Permanent traffic flow monitoring and statistical data analysis helped us determine social and economic benefits from implementation of the intersection adaptive control system. These benefits are reflected in the dramatic improvement of traffic conditions on a higher-priority direction, reduction of overall transportation costs and fuel saving.о проекте

In the course of the experiment the adaptive traffic control equipment was tested both in normal operation and fault simulation mode. It was found to comply with the design performance and requirements of the RF standards. At the same time it has been established that in some cases the RF standards differ from the foreign standards and sometimes these differences were due to traditions rather than safety requirements. As an example, we can mention differences in switching a traffic controller to the flashing yellow mode in case of the red lamp burnout. In situations like this obsolete norms only hold up implementation of the up-to-date traffic control methods, which forces us to think over the prompt amendment of the RF standards considering the recent advances in innovation technology.

Based on the results of five-month operational testing of the adaptive traffic controller the Department of Transportation and Communications decided upon the implementation of complex measures for updating intersections with the most heavy traffic in Nizhny Novgorod and development of the adaptive traffic control system. At pre-design stage 3 implementation options were considered, two of them being intersection arrangement projects located on the same artery, while the rest related to individual intersections located in different parts of the city. The feasibility study has proved the option that includes 9 individual signaled intersections to be the most preferable by reference to all performance indicators. Thus, it was established that the often-used method of developing automated traffic control systems, namely, traffic control in highways, wass not always as efficient as it should be. Fragmentation of objects to be upgraded in this specific case enables to distribute limited resources in the most efficient way and create local control areas managed by the new software and hardware.

Equipment configuration at the intersections to be upgraded and control algorithms were defined based on computer-aided simulation models of traffic flows and roadway network. Total area of modeled roadway network totaled 40 hectares. Computer-aided simulation models are to be utilized by the operating organization in the future as well. This tool enables to make decisions on changing traffic controller modes, traffic arrangement, relocation of traffic flows due to special events, etc.

In the nearest future the Department of Transportation and Communications plans to increase the number of traffic controllers comprising the system. It is also the intention to develop the combined traffic control system, where both intersections with ITS equipment and intersections with standard equipment that functions at present are to be integrated.

As late as in 2010 it is planned to connect to the central control unit additional 34 traffic controllers supplied under the Federal target program titled Improving Traffic Safety in 2006-2012. Thereby functionality of the equipment supplied under the program will be considerably improved. Traffic intensity automated control equipment also supplied under the program will be connected to the system as an input data source.

At present Nizhny Novgorod has sufficient potential for implementing a full-featured traffic control system as the most valuable component of the intelligent transportation system. Emphasis is put on training the employees of operating organizations primarily with the purpose of ensuring fail-safe operation during the entire design service life, as well as Costumer's independence from the Supplier in case of future extensions.

Development of adaptive traffic control systems creates favorable conditions for prioritizing public and special transport in the city, implementation of full-featured road user information system, etc. One of the key features of the hardware system utilized in Nizhny Novgorod is the system scalability irrespective of the specific producers and vendors. In particular, there are opportunities for further implementation of new technologies such as GLONASS/GPS. Creation of the integrated traffic control system in Nizhny Novgorod is the top priority challenge facing the Department of Transportation and Communications.