Accurate traffic information and travel times on roads
This was the first ever pilot of a traffic probe data collection system based on mobile phones in Belgium. Today most traffic data is available on those areas where traffic loops and cameras are installed, mainly on highways and ring ways. Floating Car Data measures traffic flows by mapping the position of vehicles. This pilot project examined whether this is possible through anonymously monitoring mobile phones, which are inside vehicles. In case of a positive validation, Floating Car Data could make it possible to get accurate traffic information and travel times on roads where the loops and cameras are missing or out of function.
The project started in September 2004 and was deployed in the Antwerp region to focus on the major road works last summer. The Traffic Centre of Flanders, supported by ITIS, assessed the added value of the new approach for traffic management and traffic information.
Monitoring mobile phones is still a new technology. Of course this leaves room for improvement and ITIS expects the quality of information to continually improve, as algorithms are further refined for the specific areas. In case of free flow traffic, accurate travel times were predicted on most highways and underlying roads. In most of the examined situations, the Cellular Floating Car Data technology was also able to detect the right traffic trends over time per road segment, even though the absolute values of the predicted travel times were usually too optimistic particularly in congested conditions.
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