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Researchers design a solution for traffic management that helps reduce jams and pollution in cities

A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) and the Université Paul Sabatier-Toulouse III (France) have developed a system that is capable of managing the entire traffic of a city, which will help to prevent traffic jams, while reducing the driving times of vehicles and pollution levels.

The system has been designed for autonomous vehicles and includes a route provider service that is capable of forecasting the present and future density of traffic in the city and takes into account that information when choosing new routes. The work has been published in the journal Electronics.

By properly analyzing traffic demand, it is possible to predict future traffic conditions, using this information for the optimization of the routes taken by vehicles. Such an approach becomes especially effective if applied in the context of autonomous vehicles, which have a more predictable behavior, thus enabling city management entities to mitigate the effects of traffic congestion and pollution, thereby improving the traffic flow in a city in a fully centralized manner.

This paper represents a step forward towards this novel traffic management paradigm by proposing a route server capable of handling all the traffic in a city, and balancing traffic flows by accounting for present and future traffic congestion conditions. We perform a simulation study using real data of traffic congestion in the city of Valencia, Spain, to demonstrate how the traffic flow in a typical day can be improved using our proposed solution.

Experimental results show that our proposed traffic prediction equation, combined with frequent updating of traffic conditions on the route server, can achieve substantial improvements in terms of average travel speeds and travel times, both indicators of lower degrees of congestion and improved traffic fluidity.

—Zambrano-Martinez et al.

Unlike present systems, which can suggest alternative routes depending on the bottlenecks at a certain time, the system designed in the Networking Research Group–DISCA of the UPV makes it possible to find out the present and future density of traffic in the entire metropolitan area and controls traffic as a whole, aiming to minimize or eliminate traffic jams entirely.

In addition, it allows including different criteria—environmental, atypical situations, accidents, etc—for dynamically providing advice about the routes.

Our proposal makes it easier for authorities to restrict or eliminate traffic in a certain area during the time period they find appropriate. For example, reducing traffic next to schools during the entry/exit hours, or in areas where ambulances circulate or an accident has happened, etc.

—Carlos Tavares Calafate, researcher at the Networking Research Group-DISCA of the UPV and coordinator of the work

The system designed by the UPV researchers establishes a new paradigm for future management of city traffic, in which the access to a metropolitan area requires a negotiation between vehicles and authorities.

Authorities are responsible for indicating which route the vehicle must follow to reach its destination.

This work can be applied worldwide, since it can be applied to any big city. The benefits provided by the system include a reduction of the route time, fuel consumption and pollution in cities, and a centralized management of traffic, controlling any kind of vehicle that can or can't circulate in especially polluted areas. Moreover, it would help to calm traffic in critical moments or areas, such as school entry and exit times

—Carlos Tavares Calafate


  • Zambrano-Martinez, Jorge & Calafate, Carlos & Soler, David & Lemus, Lenin & Cano, Juan-Carlos & Manzoni, Pietro & Gayraud, Thierry. (2019). “A Centralized Route-Management Solution for Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Areas.” MDPI Electronics. 8. 722. doi: 10.3390/electronics8070722



Major traffic jams due to essential repairs during good weather seasons , stretched at a very slow execution speed, in our main city could certainly benefit from a similar system?

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