Austrian tech firm Kapsch TrafficCom and the University of Melbourne have partnered to optimise a busy stretch of inner-city Melbourne road. The project pairs traffic sensors with advanced AI technology to improve the safety and flow of people – not cars – through the corridor.
- Although personal cars are the least sustainable mode of transport, Melbourne’s intersections currently prioritise their throughput
- A 2.5 km test corridor along Nicholson Street in inner-city Melbourne pairs traffic sensors with advanced AI technology to improve the flow of traffic and safety for all modes of transport, including pedestrians, bicyclists and public transport, creating a true multimodal ecosystem
- This project also investigates if new load-balancing technologies within integrated corridor management can be used in a dense urban area across a multimodal environment, rather than the traditional setting of major roads and freeways
- The test corridor is part of the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), a world-first living laboratory that tests highly integrated transport technology in Melbourne
- The Intelligent Corridor is a project conducted in partnership between the University of Melbourne, industry partners Kapsch TrafficCom and the Advanced Mobility Analytics Group, and the Victorian Government Department of Transport and Planning.
Deployment of the simulated solutions is expected to begin in 2024.
For example, shifting just 4 per cent of traffic volume away from the corridor could improve the throughput of people by 12 per cent, according to preliminary results from simulations run by the University of Melbourne. ‘Load shifting’ like this can spread peak traffic along the network to decrease the overall peak traffic volume in one single arterial road, like Nicholson Street.
“For every 1 per cent you move, you get a 3 per cent gain,” says Bolt.
Like most older cities around the world, the Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) infrastructure in Melbourne is dated. Complete situational awareness of the network is only achieved by dealing with multiple systems and platforms. Modernising the infrastructure requires innovative methods for critical control system integration that can make best use of existing infrastructure where possible.
A system that can account for all road users could reduce the number of fatal accidents, improve the sustainability of our transport systems and ensure fair roads for all.
Machine learning-based image processing of CCTV footage helps the team identify the types of vehicles, but also pedestrians and bicyclists. The image processing system also identifies ‘near misses’, evaluating safety risks and conflicts between modes of transport.
Kapsch’s innovative and globally proven corridor management platform ‘EcoTrafiX’ allows the research team to visualise the rich data sources.
University of Melbourne researchers contribute independent data analysis and simulate changes to the corridor.
“We develop machine learning models that can optimise – through millions of simulation executions – the best right-of-way allocation, or the best green traffic light time allocation for competing modes and competing volumes,” says Dr Nassir.
“Having a software platform to integrate all these sources of data is what the University of Melbourne team has needed before. And that's where we've come in,” says Bolt.
“What we've needed are the data and the simulations. That's where the university sits. It is such a great partnership leveraging both strengths.”
Developing the solution
AIMES was established in 2016 to deliver safer, cleaner and more sustainable urban transport outcomes. It is led by the University of Melbourne and has more than 50 partners in government, transport and technology.
AIMES is a living laboratory, with smart sensors and systems installed across 100 km of Melbourne’s inner north. The ecosystem enables projects like the Intelligent Corridor that are exploring better transport outcomes in a dynamic real-world environment.
- Kapsch TrafficCom
- Advanced Mobility Analytics Group
- Victorian Government Department of Transport and Planning
- University of Sydney
$746,657 ARC Linkage grant (LP200301389), with in-kind contributions amounting to $2 million in total funding
First published on 25 August 2023.
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Connected transport systems that work for more than just cars
Dr Neema Nassir leads research projects in collaboration with governments in Australia in public transport, shared mobility and automated transport.