Traffic engineering is a discipline that uses big data to achieve a safe and efficient movement of people and goods on roads. The data is mainly analysed in order to manage and to achieve a safe and efficient traffic flow. This includes, for example, road geometry, impact of sidewalks and crosswalks, influence of a cycling infrastructure, usefulness of traffic signs and road surface markings, and traffic light positions. This form of traffic flow management is either short-term or long-term. Short-term examples are the construction phase traffic control plans or detour plans for traffic in case of large events. One long-term example is the estimation of impacts of large commercial construction developments on traffic patterns in cities. Goals are to resolve conflicts in city transportation or to improve urban or suburban developments.
Traffic data is also used in the context of public safety. This means traffic safety by analysing data about locations with high crash rates and investigating countermeasures to reduce these crashes. One goal of this area in traffic engineering is reducing the frequency and severity of crashes. Apart from data about crashes, other factors that contribute to crashes are investigated in this context that are physical laws, vehicle dynamics, and even road user psychology.
Intelligent Transportation Systems
The most impact of data-intensive analysis is in the context of intelligent transportation systems (ITS) such as addressing traffic problems. ITS stands for generation, analysis, processing, and even visualization of datasets of vehicles including their transported cargo. These systems also use data analysis for investigating the sending and receiving of goods and transportation of people. An interesting aspect is furthermore the coordination within and between different traffic systems such as road, rail, marine, and air traffic. A wide variety of information and communication technologies, including big data analysis, are used in the context of transport, infrastructure, vehicles and people. This enables traffic management and mobility management. For example, the Siemens Mobility division is known for solutions in this area.
Another perspective in data analysis in the context of ITS is its usage for surveillance of roadways contributing to public safety and homeland security.
More information about Traffic Engineering
A good introduction video about this topic is shown below:
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