After almost 5 months into lockdown, major cities in the USA have started facing the issue of increasing traffic on the roads as the workplaces are gradually opening up.
Workers/employees returning to work are avoiding crowded subways and public transport to prevent getting infected. They have started using their cars and have begun swarming streets, causing traffic congestions.
In The New York City, even before the pandemic, congestion already exacted a huge financial toll, costing the New York region an estimated $20 billion a year in lost worker productivity and higher fuel and operating expenses, according to the Partnership for New York City, a leading business group.
The demand for monthly parking spots in these cities is also increasing quickly. A digital parking marketplace called SpotHero, has seen monthly bookings in lots and garages increase 123% in early July in the New York City, from the same period a year ago. The average monthly parking price has also soared to $351 from $288 – according to The New York Times.
So, how should cities manage and optimize the use of the existing infrastructure without any additional expenditure? How do they make sure that the traffic is smooth and does not cause unprecedented traffic challenges after the pandemic?
Investing in projects like widening the roads/sidewalks, building bridges, or completely re-configuring the streets will certainly help but these are long-term projects which take time to implement.
Rather cities can deploy intelligent traffic and mobility solutions like advanced traffic advisory, adaptive signal control technology, and intelligent traffic management that can help them curb the challenge of increasing traffic not only in these tough times but well beyond the Covid19 crisis.
Advanced traffic advisory uses various intelligent sensors and devices like CCTVs installed on the roads and vehicles. It provides 24/7 traffic alerts on important aspects like delays, incidents, congestions, current and future average speeds, roadwork, weather conditions, etc. to citizens on their smartphones.
Another fantastic solution is adaptive signal control technology, which helps in adjusting the traffic signal timing (changes, or adapts) based on actual traffic demand in real-time.
Also, a lack of timely measures for incident/ accident resolution and management generally results in congestion. It is imperative to deploy a solution that alerts the operators about these kinds of incidents and accidents on time – as they happen, allowing control centers to quickly confirm the same through CCTV and dispatch the required help on time.
Even smart parking solutions can help in reducing congestion by enabling the commuters with access to information through a mobile app regarding vacant parking lots near them for better and quick assistance.
GIS systems like Geospatial traffic guidance system provide a 3d visualization of real-time geographical data that can be used to provide traffic guidance, possible obstacles, and traffic inflows from various routes and their respective queue length.
All these intelligent traffic management solutions are deployed, integrated, and managed remotely by a centralized command and control center, that also generates and transmits important traffic-related information to facilitate intervention.
Smart city solutions are evolving with the help of technologies like AI and IoT and can really help cities curb the increasing challenges posed by times like these.
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