ENABLE : REAL-TIME TRAFFIC MONITORING TOOL FOR EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT DECISION MAKING

Context

Traffic congestion is considered a major issue in all the urban spaces and many attempts have been made to resolve it yet in the fast-growing pace of urbanization, the situation has remained the same or worsens. One thing that should be considered is that Traffic congestion is a symptom which is an outcome of many other issues. These issues are varied and the fact that different stakeholders such as the Traffic department, Municipal Corporation/Council, development authority, Regional Transport Department, Public Work Department, etc. are addressing the traffic in silos for the city. The issues leading to traffic congestion can further be divided into two categories major live parameters and static parameters. Live is the traffic flow in the city and static usually related to the infrastructures such as potholes, right of way, traffic lights, etc. In a city, the traffic department usually facilitates most of the live aspects like maintaining and managing the traffic flow and Municipal Corporation, development authorities facilitate the static aspects like maintenance of roads, sidewalks, encroachments, etc. There is a need for co-ordination and co-operation among the various stakeholders to tackle traffic congestions in the city. Often the process is time-consuming due to many issues, few being lack of data availability, non-standardized and validated datasets, administrative issues, lack of capacity and most importantly lack of a common platform to share, visualize and analyze data. Tool Enable, developed by Team Plan, Smart City Fellowship would help various stakeholders in the city to help visualize and monitor traffic patterns briefly. The tool performs on two correlated parameters - Live data and Static data.

 

Problem Statement

India is one of the developing countries which are currently going through the phase of structural transformation. Cities in India have different urban forms resulting in different and specific traffic layout. There is a need to identify the various characteristics, functions and driving factors of traffic system which causes traffic congestion in different cities. Traffic is a major cause of various problems like air pollution, noise pollution, urban heat island, poor health, economic loss, hampering movement, lack of walkability etc. Traffic congestion is a confluence of many factors, especially lack of comprehensive urban and regional planning, among others. Traffic congestion cannot be solved only by traffic engineering and management, or by adding more roads, traffic lights, and traffic enforcers. It can be solved only through holistic and integrated planning.

Objective

The objective of this tool is to help visualize and monitor traffic patterns at a glance, to the stakeholders. The tool will perform on two co-related parameters - Live data and Static data. The co-relation is the major highlight of the tool which differs from the already existing tools which work usually on the live parameters. The co-related output would result in the identification of real issues of traffic congestion with respect to the location in the city.

•The live data will be accessed and used by Traffic police to visualize and analyze the city’s traffic scenario on daily basis. The same data, when stored as historical data will be used to study patterns for peak hours, major chowks and festival durations.

 

•The historical data, likewise, will be used by Municipal Corporation to study and achieve efficient decisions related to congestion due to road widths, potholes, encroachment. Similarly, development authorities will use the historical data to take justified decisions for future planning and would be a step towards data driven governance.

Project Developement

Project Strategy

The team underwent intense exercise of looking into Smart city proposals, concentrating majorly on factors like Transit oriented development proposals, IoT based solution projects and GIS based web portals. Cities having Comprehensive Mobility Plans were taken into consideration. Based on this study, cities like, Ahmedabad, Kohima, Surat, Udaipur, Bhopal, Pune and Kochi were identified. Further, data availability w.r.t traffic data was analyzed and further few cities were chosen: Ahmedabad, Pune and Kohima. Expression of interest letters were sent to respective CEO’s for accessing datasets from authorities like Municipal Corporations, Traffic Police depts. Team initially focused on working with Ahmedabad, keeping in mind, access and close proximity to mentor and sector experts from CEPT university. Further engagement with authorities and visit to site, team understood the challenges that they will have to face w.r.t. real time data acquisition. Hence, the team had to shift its pilot city to Pune from Ahmedabad due to real-time data unavailability but plans to scale the project in the city of Ahmedabad after the successful pilot in Pune. Pune being the advanced city in terms of technology, data and enthusiasm, team had ease in setting up their base. Also, Pune is still the only city having TomTom maps on board which did provide could provide real time traffic data for the project to develop upon.

Expected Outcomes

The tool is carefully organized into 4 layers, been stacked over each other. The base layer is the Maptile layer, which is responsible for capturing the traffic flow. The second layer overlayed on the base layer is the road layer. The road layer is a geojson file having all the collected static data (NOC data, past accident data, road width, traffic volume, etc). The layer followed by the road layer is the incident layer. The incident layer is responsible for storing realtime incident layer coming from TomTom’s live incident data, PMC’s VTMS and ITMS data and twitter grievances. The fourth layer is a fishnet or rectangular cells of 1sqkm. Each cell represents a traffic analytical zone. A total of 456 such traffic analytical zones or TAZs are overlayed over the entire city of Pune. Each grid is weighted according to its traffic division, the weightage being calculated from a survey done to understand ‘What causes traffic congestion in a traffic division’ over a sample size of 1356 citizens. The questionnaire proposed 10 parameters (that causes congestion) asking the citizen to rank according to its priority and the weighted score further was analyzed using normalizing ranking for each answer choice.

Actual Result

The tool consists of a dashboard and a data collection website that is developed with in-depth research of traffic conditions in the city of Pune. The toolkit is developed under Pune Smart City Development Corporation Ltd. (PSCDCL) and in consultation with various stakeholders like Pune Traffic Police, Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML). Pune Traffic Police is the primary stakeholder of the dashboard whereas the PMC, secondary. Major Datasets like accident data, NOC data, Waterlogging and pothole data’s with twitter grievances were collected from the Traffic dept. whereas Hawker’s encroachment list with other grievances were contributed by PMC. The live data can be accessed and used by Traffic police to visualize and analyze the city’s traffic scenario on a daily basis. The same data, when stored as historical data will be used to study the patterns for peak hours, major chowks (junctions) and festive durations. The historical data, likewise, will be helpful for PMC to study and achieve efficient decisions related to congestion due to road widths, potholes, encroachment, etc. Below image shows the final screenshot of tool.

Conclusion

Scalability

The project can be scaled to Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities, based upon the availability of data-sets. The team developed the collector app to ease out the processes of collecting, translating and digitizing data’s which makes it user friendly for every region of the country. The real challenge lies with the availability of real-time data being procured from map provider’s like Google, TomTom or HERE maps. Any of these map providers need to be brought on board for the dashboard to run in its full capacity. Cities will have to undertake capacity building exercises to understand the features of the tool and to then explore to its fullest limits.

Way Forward

The authorities are expected to own the Collector tool and the Dashboard in their daily routine for day to day decision making. Several departments can be brought together on this platform for efficient decision making which will break departmental silos and bring departmental data’s on one platform. The tool can further perform predictive modelling to suggest solutions on addition of several more data points.

Strategy Graphics