Innovative Traffic Solutions Around the World


 |  Health/Lifestyle

We spend a major portion of our lives on the road commuting, travelling, and exploring the world around us. However, as our cities modernize, we are constantly relying more and more on personal vehicles to travel from point a to point b. As more opt for personal vehicles, traffic congestion worsens throughout. Traffic is a major issue in many ways. Not only does it take away our time, traffic congestion also wastes fuel and worsens air pollution. Cities all around the world are constructing various solutions from developing innovative software, implementing simple systems, and improving public transportation to reduce traffic congestion. 

Hamburg, Germany

An innovative solution for traffic issues comes from the German city of Hamburg. The Hamburg State Agency for Roads, Bridges and Waters (LSBG) collaborated with Workplace Solutions and the PTV Group to develop a software​ that collects and analyzes real-time traffic data and the relation between congestion and construction to improve traffic flow and congestion forecasts. This system consists of two different components: ROADS, a software for coordinating construction measures and analyzing traffic flow changes, and PTV Visum, a traffic model that simulates and calculates the impact of traffic disruptions. ​

Unlike existing software solutions for the planning of road work, this tool provides information on the resulting relocation of traffic flows​, allowing users to smartly plan construction sites​ ahead of time. The LSBG and the Hamburg traffic control center integrated this system into their operations in April 2020 and Hamburg currently uses this software for both long-term and short-term traffic planning.​ 

Seoul, South Korea

South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, has one of the highest gas consumptions globally. With increasing car usage comes the inevitable lack of parking spaces, which leads to many individuals wasting gas while simply looking for a place to park their car. Korean oil company S-OIL’s HERE campaign aims to minimize this fuel wastage. The idea is simple. A yellow balloon is put at each parking space. When a car parks in that spot, the balloon falls, and once the vehicle moves out, the balloon will rise, indicating a vacant parking spot. This unique yet low-tech campaign allows drivers to save an average of 1 litre of oil. Although the effects are not drastic, the idea is still harmless to enforce, requires little resources, is beneficial, and is easily applicable in any major city. 

Iwata, Japan

In Iwata, Japan, Kyosan Electric Manufacturing Company, Ltd implemented a traffic monitoring system named ARTEMIS.​ The technology works by placing motion sensors over roadways​, which detect how many cars pass by and how far apart they are from one another. This information is first sent to a central control computer​ that processes the collected data. Then, this processed data is sent to traffic signals to give varying signal durations depending on the data received. ​This system has also been implemented in five consecutive intersections in Moscow​, showing a successful result of a 40% reduction in morning traffic congestion​. The Indian city, Mumbai, is soon to follow and has contracted the same Kyosan Electric Manufacturing Company, Ltd. to install ARTEMIS in Mumbai as well. ​


Bus Stop”, by Choo Yut Shing, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Air pollution is a significant problem in Singapore, with Singaporeans spending up to 420 minutes breathing in pollutant particles each month at bus stops. According to a study funded by the National Research Foundation, air pollution is 3.5 times higher at bus stops than in any other area. This issue led ST Engineering to modify their Airbitat, an energy-efficient innovative outdoor cooler, to purify the polluted hot air around bus stops. This new design, called the Airbitat Oasis, is currently implemented at a bus stop outside Plaza Singapura. The Airbitat is the perfect solution to the hotter summers and the increasing number of heat waves around the world. The device cools the warm outdoor air to temperatures as low as 24 degrees Celsius while not relying on refrigerants or compressors, which are usually the factors for energy inefficiency in conventional cooling systems. The system also smartly adjusts its cycle according to surrounding temperatures and the number of people in the area to increase effectiveness. The Airbitat Oasis also filters out toxic air pollutants during its cooling process but does not hinder airflow or require frequent filter replacement. Technology designed to combat heat and pollution, like the Airbitat Oasis, can hopefully be implemented in bus stops and outdoor spaces around the world to reduce the number of heat strokes, increase overall citizen comfort and health, and increase the number of citizens opting for public transportation over using personal vehicles.

By implementing these innovative systems and solutions, cities can smartly plan out their development, reduce fuel and time wastage, reduce the reluctance to utilize public transportation and improve overall traffic flow and efficiency. From simple low-tech solutions to advanced software and technologies, there are numerous solutions constantly being developed around the world from which major cities can find one that meets their respective needs and available resources.