The adaptive traffic control system (ATCS) is a traffic management technique that modifies or adapts the timing of traffic signals based on the actual demand for traffic. This is accomplished through the use of a control system that includes both hardware and software, where hardware is the sensor used for real-time traffic density estimation and software is designed using captured data analysis of the city’s current traffic flow.
The basic working principle of the ATCS is as follows:
- Cameras, radars, or loops, for example, are deployed at junctions or along corridors to monitor traffic volume, speed, and wait duration on each approach.
- The sensor data is sent to a local or central controller, which uses an adaptive algorithm to assess traffic circumstances and improve signal timing.
- The controller provides signal timing to the traffic lights, which modify the length of red-green phases and green waves based on traffic demand.
- The controller also connects with other controllers or devices to coordinate and synchronize signal timing throughout the network.
- The ATCS can also be integrated with other systems or applications, such as emergency vehicles, public buses, bicycles, navigation systems, and parking systems, to offer priority, direction, and information to diverse users.
The ATCS can increase traffic management efficiency, safety, convenience, and sustainability by lowering travel time, fuel consumption, emissions, accidents, and congestion.
Some of the sensors used in ATCS are:
- Cameras: Cameras are optical equipment that collect photographs or movies of traffic situations. Cameras can detect the presence of pedestrians, bicycles, and other objects, as well as the quantity, type, speed, and direction of cars. Cameras may also detect traffic signal color and status.
- Radars: Radars are radio-wave-emitting devices that measure the reflection or echo of objects. Radars can offer information on vehicle distance, speed, and angle, as well as identify obstructions or dangers. Radars may also function in low-visibility environments like fog, rain, or snow.
- Loops are wire coils buried in the pavement that produce a magnetic field when an electric current flows through them. Loops can detect the presence and passing of automobiles by monitoring the change in the magnetic field created by the metal in the vehicles.
- RFID tags: RFID tags are tiny devices that store and transmit data using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology. RFID tags can be connected to automobiles or other items to convey information about their identification, location, and status. RFID tags can also connect with RFID readers or other devices to provide services such as automatic toll collection, parking management, and collision avoidance.
- Meteorological sensors: Meteorological sensors detect and monitor meteorological factors such as temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed, and precipitation. Meteorological sensors can offer information on environmental conditions that impact traffic flow and safety. Meteorological sensors can also aid in the prediction and management of weather-related phenomena such as storms, floods, and landslides.