How mathematics can help to fight traffic jams?

How mathematics can help to fight traffic jams?





Academy of Engineering

Do you know this feeling, when it’s very hot and stuffy outside and you are stuck in a traffic jam? You are trying to come in time for a date, but you are extremely late. Ugh, again these traffic jams! You get angry. When you finally arrive, a girl has certainly slipped away. You know this feeling – traffic jams are there all the time .But at RUDN University there is a group of concerned students, who want to find a solution to this problem.

Many specialists are trying hard to solve the problem of road congestion in the context of limited traffic infrastructure. Such situations often hampers cargo deliveries, passengers miss their flights and meetings. Alexey Belyakov, several students of Engineering Academy and Askhat Ibragimovich Diveev, a professor of Cybernetic and Mechatronics Department of RUDN University, decided to develop a program for management of the traffic flow in a megalopolis.

«This problem cannot be solved by common means (for example, by road extension, building of expensive junctions or inclusion of reverse traffic), because road traffic infrastructure in cities has already formed. From my point of view, under such conditions the most effective way is to regulate the work of traffic lights», Alexey says.

For the development of the program students and the professor made a mathematical model for the management of the traffic flow. Due to this procedure, it might be possible at any time to assess the number of cars on each part of the road in the city. Then on the basis of this method they wrote software for the computer. The software is calledCTraf. At this stage the information on the traffic state, speed and congestion is collected manually. Project developers come to a place, register all indices by using special equipment. In the future all data will be obtained automatically through sensors and photo and video recording systems, established on the roads.

On the basis of data, maximum traffic capacity, limited number of transport between traffic lights and other data is analyzed. As a result, the computer program shows a numeral value (in seconds or minutes) of the ideal duration of traffic light at a crossroad. For example, if roads are clear, «green waves» can be formed. In morning rush hours traffic lights can work slowly in order to prevent traffic congestion on the main streets.

Students have tested this model on small road sections, comprising no more than 10 traffic lights. They tested it on the real crossroads near Moscow underground stations. As a result, they developed a method of combining small road nets into one big net. This helps to assess an optimum control regime easier. Also students and the professor created an evolutionary algorithm for the setting of the model, using observed data, obtained from data recorders.

Now project developers are working on software package. They also want to contact city’s administration and ministries in order to implement the program at the crossroads of the city.

Tags: Engineering Academy
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