In 2014, the cost of congestion on roads globally reached a high of $160 billion. While this cost is high, if the traffic congestion menace is not solved, it will continue to increase in the future. California, being one of the most developed states in the United States, attracts a lot of visitors and investors who make it have serious occurrences of congestions in some of its cities. This problem is coupled with the fact that Californians, on the average, have high incomes that enable them to purchase cars, resulting in most of its roads being congested during peak hours. This paper evaluates how technology can be integrated into the current transport network of Orlando, Florida to solve its current congestion problems.
The congestion costs in the United States were $160 billion in 2014, up by $4 billion from their 2013 figures (Florida Department of Transport [FDOT], 2). During this period, the traffic delays resulted in over 6.9 billion hours being wasted in travel and an extra consumption of more than 3.1 billion gallons of fuel. In Florida alone, the congestion cost was $8.75 billion. Approximately 388 million hours were wasted in travel delays, and there was a consumption of an extra 175 million gallons of fuel. In Florida, Miami was the most congested city and had annual delay of 52 hours. Orlando was the second, with an annual delay of 46 hours for each commuter (FDOT, 4).
Congestion normally occurs when traffic exceeds the road capacity. As a result, vehicles move at slow speeds, there are usually long trip times, there is an increase in queuing, and the usage of more fuel on transport. The adoption of technology on Orlando’s transport system will result in the following benefits for the city:
- Better traffic control.
- Prevention and detection of road accidents.
- Enforcement of traffic laws.
- Provision of a good driving experience for drivers.
Big Picture Overview
Although most congestions occur during peak hours, and it is impossible to fully stop them at these hours, 41% of total delays happen overnight or in midday (FDOT 4). Therefore, congestions are not only caused by heavy traffic but also additional factors such as careless driving. At this rate, the congestion levels are expected to result in a total delay of 8.3 billion hours and congestion costs of $192 billion by 2020. Consequently, an average commuter will spend an extra 47 hours and 21 gallons of fuel on transport (FDOT 5). In this regard, the establishment of intelligent (networked) highways in Orlando will result in the reduction of traffic congestion, in turn leading to a reduction in congestion costs.
Objectives of the Adoption of Technology in Orlando Transportation
- Reduction in traffic congestion in the city.
- Minimization of the occurrences of accidents in the city.
- Reduction in response time to any eventualities on the highways.
Overview of Transport System
In an intelligent highway system, the communication systems on roads are able to capture all events that happen on roads. These systems then send the data online through various communication systems such as the GPS satellites. The information is then sent to relay towers that transmit it to traffic operation centers. Besides capturing key information, the intelligent transport systems also informs officers at traffic operation centers of the roads that are less congested or most appropriate for rerouting affected vehicles. Accordingly, this system reduces traffic congestions and enables officers to have a faster response time.
Source: Cardenas-Benitez et al. 18.
Countries Investing in Technology in Transportation
Due to the high rates of congestions in most cities, countries all over the world have adopted various technologies to control their transports. The countries that have been in the frontline in the adoption of intelligent highways include Singapore, South Korea, Denmark, United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and India.
Business Problem Approach
In the implementation of the intelligence transport network for Orlando, the most important challenge is assessing the economic viability of the project. In this case, the project should have a positive net present value. Simply, this means that the benefits earned from the installation of an intelligent transport system in Orlando should be greater than the installation and operation costs in the long-run.
Business Objective: To implement a Traffic Congestion Detection System in Orlando.
Visiting a City that has an Intelligent Networked System
The first step will be visiting a country or a city that has installed an intelligent networking system for a study on how their system works, and whether a similar structure can be applied in Orlando. The city transport officers will visit Singapore. Singapore has the least congested city roads due to its effective intelligence transport systems in the world. Currently, the average speeds in Singapore city is 27 km/hr. while London’s is just 16km/hr. for Japan its 11km/hr, and in Jakarta its 5km/hr (Siemens).
Designing the Intelligent Transport System
The second step is the designing of the intelligence congestion system through the partnership of Orland’s city transport department and information computer technology companies that specialize in the development of modern computerized transport devices.
Installing Infrastructure for the Intelligent Transport System
The third step will be the installation of high-tech cameras, radar systems, video vehicle detection systems, private optical communication systems, loop vehicle detection systems, expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS), and the establishment of transportation information center.
Testing of the System
The fourth step will be the testing and the training of traffic officers. This step will involve the testing of the intelligence traffic systems and in identifying any challenges. If certain parts of the system are not responding as expected, they will be corrected.
Training of Traffic Officers
The traffic officers who will manage the Orlando intelligence (networked) highway will be trained on this stage on how to operate the system and respond to various issues that they may see in the transportation information center.
Training the Public
The sixth step will be the training of the public on how to respond to various reports indicated on the expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS). This training will enable drivers to quickly embrace the new transport system, in turn ensuring that it is effective in reducing the congestion period. Additionally, customers will be able to learn the meaning of the road signs indicated in the expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS). After this step, there will be the full implementation of the intelligent (networked) highway for Orlando.
Data Flow Diagram
Summary of Best Practices
There must be clear and accurate communication with all stakeholders to implement a project successfully. In the implementation process of technology in the transportation of Orlando, there will be a need for communication among the traffic officers, truck and small vehicle drivers, and the developers of the traffic systems. This cooperation will ensure there is coordination in the achievement of common goals.
- Defining activities and deliverables
There should be clear definition activities and deliverables to ensure proper implementation of the technology in Orlando city transport. Accordingly, there should be a schedule of the completion of each task and the identification of individuals who will participate in each activity.
- Handling changes
There should be a project handbook for ensuring proper handling changes. This book should be used to record any changes in the project implementation to have a proper accountability of all tasks in the project.
Proper project implementation entails all individuals giving a report to their stakeholders. In this case, a project leader should issue scheduled reports (finance, performance, achievements) of the project to partners and stakeholders. The reports are essential in enabling proper monitoring of the project’s performance.
- Dissemination and Outreach
Finally, all projects must establish appropriate dissemination means to reach their target stakeholders. The importance of selecting the appropriate dissemination and outreach is ensuring that the project members can communicate with all stakeholders, in turn resulting in appropriate fulfillment of the project.
Types of Technology in Transportation
- Photo-luminizing powder: A unique paint that glows at night making driving easy.
- Interactive lighting: Interactive lighting are street lights that automatically switch on when they detect an oncoming vehicle.
- Wind-powered lights: Wind-powered street lights use wind to generate electricity
- Electric priority lane: The electric priority lanes are special roads that enable induction charging for electric vehicles.
- Solar Roadways: Solar roads are highways made using solar panels to enable generation of electricity using sunlight.
- Anti-icing roads: Anti-icing roads have a special chemical that prevents snow from forming on the road.
- Piezoelectric energy roads: Piezoelectric energy roads have crystals which generate energy from the vibrations generated by vehicle’s moving wheels (Metcalfe).
- Intelligent highways provide an interactive system for facilitating better transport
- Automatic road enforcement. They use a high-tech camera and wireless systems that can capture the details of offensive road drivers and fine them in real time.
- The dynamic traffic light sequence. They provide both the minimum and maximum speed limits, which ensures there are no snarl-ups caused by extremely slow drivers or accidents due to excessive speeding.
- Collision avoidance systems. They inform drivers of stalled vehicles
- Emergency vehicle notification systems. They automatically inform traffic control officers when an accident or significant event happens on the road.
- Traffic congestion systems. They detect the traffic levels of roads and re-route drivers to less congested roads.
Orlando city can use either the traffic congestion system or automatic road enforcement systems. The traffic congestion system is also known as the expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS). The automatic road enforcement systems can reduce traffic by fining offensive road users. In this case, drivers may be fined for over speeding that result in accidents and subsequently lead to traffic congestions. Additionally, too slow drivers may be fined for driving below the required speed limit. On the other hand, the expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS) reduces traffic congestion by establishing the most appropriate roads for rerouting drivers to avoid congestions in some roads (Land Transport Authority of Singapore).
The most appropriate system for Orlando is the expressway monitoring and advisory system (EMAS) since this system is predictive. Accordingly, it can assess the rate at which traffic is accumulating on a certain highway and advise the traffic officers to reroute vehicles to less crowded roads. On the contrary, the automatic road enforcement is reactionary. In this case, an offense must first occur for it to send a signal/act. As a result, it is possible in this system for a driver to cause a road offense, including a road accident that results in a traffic congestion, before he/she is fined by the system.
The main problem in Orlando system is traffic congestion due to a lot of vehicles. Therefore, the automatic road enforcement is not the most appropriate since it cannot inform road users about the roads that are less congested.
|Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS)||Automatic Road Enforcement Systems|
|This system is predictive. Can predict a traffic congestion before it occurs and advises on ways of preventing.||This system is reactive.|
|Advises road users and drivers about road congestion||Does not advise drivers on the best roads to avoid road congestion.|
Data Collection Data Processing Information Processing
The Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS) collects various information on the condition of the highway using various devices in the data collection stage. This data is then automatically transferred using digital communication systems to the urban expressway transportation information center. In this stage, the data is processed into appropriate information, and subsequently, it is transmitted to various devices used by road users in the information processing stage.
The most appropriate method of reducing traffic congestion of Orlando is through the use of the Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS). The main advantage system is its ability to predict possible traffic congestion by assessing the rate of increase in the vehicles using a specific highway and providing advice to road users on the most appropriate road to use for specific destinations.
|Establishing concept by visiting Singapore||7 days|
|Designing an intelligent system for Orlando||90 days|
|Installing infrastructure for EMAS||455 days|
|Testing EMAS infrastructure||60 days|
|Training traffic officers||30 days|
|Training the public||90 days|
|Launching the project||2 days|
|Total Days||644 days|
|Loop vehicle detection system||$20.5 million|
|Video vehicle detection system||$27 million|
|Emergency call systems||$15 million|
|Urban expressway transportation information center||$40 million|
|Roadside electronic signs||$25 million|
|Digital communication platforms for smartphone applications and website interactions||$0.5 million|
The potential projects for the Orlando transport system are:
- Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS).
- The automatic road enforcement systems
Orlando city will implement EMAS since it is the most appropriate in eliminating traffic congestion in the city.
Inception (Interaction 0, Warm Up)
The stakeholders in the project are:
- The public (truck drivers, ordinary vehicle drivers, companies)
- California State government
- City of Orlando public works division
- The City of Orlando transportation engineering division.
- The traffic officers in Orlando
- Suppliers of equipment used in the project
- Contractors working on the project
The funding and support will come from the government.
A tendering process will be issued to all engineers willing to partner with Orlando transport division to develop an EMAS system for the city. The tender will be awarded to the successful bidder.
The city will provide offices and grounds where equipment needed for the project will be stored.
There will be a collaboration with all stakeholders in the establishment of infrastructure needed for EMAS.
The implementation will be done in priority based on the project’s schedule.
There will be a continuous analysis of the project and test of the quality of the completed sections. This method will ensure there is a working system at the end of each section that is being developed.
Transition: The “End Game”
Once the project is complete, there will be a final testing of whether the EMAS is effective in its operations.
There will be a reworking of any errors found in the system until the EMAS becomes usable.
Once the system is usable, there will be system and user documentation. This documentation will be important for future reworks and as a guide to users.
Officers who will be using the system and drivers will be trained on how it works.
The system will then be deployed for use in Orlando’s highways.
The traffic officers will be charged with the duty of ensuring the system is continuously operating.
They will provide guidance and support to road users using EMAS.
The traffic officer’s department will also ensure that the EMAS infrastructure are maintained, serviced, and repaid so that they remain functional.
It is expected that after 30 years of EMAS operation, there will be better and more sophisticated transports systems that will replace this infrastructure. Therefore, it will be replaced.
The Orland City should establish the Expressway Monitoring and Advisory System (EMAS). From studies on the countries that have implemented EMAS, it has a high return on investment. In Singapore, for example, the implementation of the intelligent transport system has enabled it to have an average speed of 27 km/hr. on its main roads (Siemens). Therefore, this system will enable Orlando to increase the average speed of its main road. Further, the return on investment for the infrastructure is very high. The establishment cost of the EMAS system will be $1500 million. Since the congestion cost of Orlando city as of 2014 was $1,207; it can be deduced that the project will repay itself in just two years. Finally, the reduction in traffic congestion in Orlando will result in the city becoming an attractive transportation hub, which will effectively bring more trade and revenues to the city.
Cardenas-Benitez, N., et al. Traffic Congestion Detection System Through Connected Vehicles And Big Data. Sensors, vol. 16, no. 599, (2016), 1-26.
Florida Department of Transportation [FDOT]. Congestions in Florida: Findings from the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard. Special Report, September 2015, pp. 1-9.
Metacalfe, J. 9 Technologies for Building the ‘Road of the Future.’ 2012. Available from https://www.citylab.com/life/2012/12/9-technologies-building-road-future/4219/
Land Transport Authority of Singapore. Intelligent Transport Systems. 2017. Available from https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltaweb/en/roads-and-motoring/managing-traffic-and-congestion/intelligent-transport-systems.html.
Lee, S. Seoul’s Intelligent Traffic System (ITS). 2017. Available from https://seoulsolution.kr/en/content/seoul%E2%80%99s-intelligent-traffic-system-its
Siemens. City Climate Leadership Award: Singapore Climate Close-Up. 2014. Available from https://www.siemens.com/press/pool/de/events/2014/infrastructure-cities/2014-06-CCLA/singapore-climate-close-up.pdf.