Intelligent Traffic System for Islamabad

Intelligent Traffic System (ITS) for Road Network Management in Islamabad Mohammad Imran (Sp-2011/PhD EM/001) Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering, Islamabad Author Note Mohammad Imran, Department of Engineering Management, Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering, Islamabad Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Mohammad Imran, Department of Engineering Management, Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering, Islamabad. E-mail: [email protected] com Abstract Traffic congestion is a vexing problem felt by residents of most urban areas.

Despite of high gasoline prices, rush hour gridlock and pollution, seemingly nothing can interfere with people’s love affair with the car. Building more roads cannot provide the answer to better traffic management as it cannot keep pace with the ever increasing vehicle population as well as limitation of the environment’s ability to sustain the impact. Unlike authorities in cities across the world where people are encouraged to make greater use of public transport, residents of Islamabad are handicapped to exercise this option due to absence of a mature and well integrated mass transit system.

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An intelligent traffic management system which can ensure smooth flow of traffic to manage congestion (delay, reliability and network resilience) for all people and freight movement on the road network is required for Islamabad. This paper therefore argues the case for a better integrated approach towards road network management for ensuring mobility of people and goods through integration of governance management issues, information technology and traffic routing systems. 1. Background

Interest in ITS comes from the problems caused by traffic congestion and a synergy of new information technology for simulation, real-time control and communications networks. Traffic congestion has been increasing worldwide as a result of increased motorization, urbanization, population growth, and changes in population density. Congestion reduces efficiency of transportation infrastructure and increases travel time, air pollution, and fuel consumption. In the developing world, the migration of people from ural to urbanized habitats has progressed differently. Many areas of the developing world have urbanized without significant development of road network as well as unplanned formation of suburbs. In Islamabad for instance the population is supported by a multimodal system of walking, bicycle transportation, motorcycles, mini buses, taxis and cars. Many urban poor, living on the outskirts of Islamabad, cannot afford to travel to economically active areas. Those who can are dependent on a public transport system, which generally has a low service level.

In many cases, informal minibuses or taxis provide the only public transport available. Many vehicles used in this informal system are not road worthy. For those who cannot afford the minibuses or taxis, the only option is walking or riding bicycles. In case of affluent urban inhabitants private car ownership is high and public transport is not considered an option. Highways and secondary roads provide access to all parts of the city. Moreover, private cars are expected to play an even greater role for transportation of the urbanites in the future as well.

The data held with Motor Vehicle Registration Authority of Islamabad indicates that the number of vehicles using the road network of the city continues to be higher than the month before. The high fuel prices do not seem to have a restricting effect on car usage in the city. The ever increasing vehicles plying on the city’s roads pose a significant safety risk due to limited space available on the road network, exert pressure on the ever increasing conflict between further developments of road network in relation to other land uses, degrade air quality and exacerbate feelings of inequities in the society.

This trend re-emphasizes the need for ITS and efficient road network management system. 2. Traffic Control Systems and Road Network of Islamabad The Islamabad Metropolitan Area is composed of Islamabad, the old city of Rawalpindi and the National Park. The latter is a hilly area, containing two large lakes, the National Sports Centre, the National University and the National Research Centre. Four major interurban roads delineate the above three major components of the Metropolitan Area. Islamabad is planned according to a hierarchical system of communities of various classes, each class comprising the functions corresponding to its ize. These communities are properly served by a major transportation system developed within wide corridors of a grid-iron configuration, surrounding and defining the higher class communities. Local and collector low speed roads, wide sidewalks, pedestrian roads and bicycles lanes within the lower class “human communities” provide access to the major transportation system. The above hierarchical system of communities and transportation facilities, contributes to the reduction of travel distances/times and accidents, and to the promotion of “green transport” (walking, cycling, public transport).

Traffic congestion in urban areas and related environmental problems such as air/noise pollution, through car movements in residential and other sensitive areas, road accidents, etc. are mainly due to the development of these areas before the explosion of car ownership as well as to the lack of proper combined transportation –land use planning, to cope with this explosion. The standalone traffic control signals and limitations imposed by the existing road pattern designed in 1960’s do not allow for the development of the configuration, spacing and capacity of the road network required under the current scenario.

As a result, the ever increasing traffic imposes its rules. When existing as well as possible new arteries are saturated, new arterial routes are created through collector and local streets within residential areas, deteriorating the quality of life and increasing traffic accidents in these areas. The limitations of infrastructure are further compounded by improper behavior of road users, (lack of respect to traffic lights, to lanes for opposing traffic, etc), by the public transport drivers (stopping anywhere to drop and pick up passengers), by improper design and signage of intersections, by lack of systematic police enforcement, etc.

Efforts are therefore required to obtain sustainable mobility through proper traffic and demand management, improving Public and other “Green Modes” of transport, using Intelligent Transportation Systems, etc. Parallel efforts are also required to convert the existing road network into a system of properly spaced arteries, collectors and local roads, each category serving the proper through and access movements generated by the existing and planned land uses. 2. The Global Perspective on ITS Traffic congestion is a vexing problem felt by residents of most urban areas.

Despite of high gasoline prices, rush hour gridlock and pollution, seemingly nothing can interfere with the growing number of vehicles plying on the road. The relief from traffic congestion through the construction of highways is temporary as new commercial and residential growth follows the path of every project. Building more roads therefore cannot provide the answer to better traffic management as it cannot keep pace with the ever increasing vehicle population, other potential uses of land as well as limitation of the environment’s ability to sustain the impact.

Efficient use of the existing road network using the emerging advancements in technology represents itself as the appropriate solution towards better traffic and road network management. The traditional solution to combat vehicle congestion has been to construct more and larger highways. Martin, Marini & Tosunoglu (2008) analyzed the potential solutions provided by technology for efficient traffic control and management of the road network. There work revealed that high financial, social and environmental costs of new road projects can be curtailed by efficient use of technology.

They identified remodeling of existing road network, improved traffic-signal controllers, changeable highway signs, rerouting of rush hour traffic, creation of traffic-control centers which monitor and display gross traffic conditions, use of preplanned alternative traffic solutions based on repeated daily traffic patterns as some of the many innovations offered by modern technology which can potentially be used for better road network management and traffic control.

Deakin (2006) examined the current thinking about sustainable transportation as part of a broader strategy of transportation and land use based on existing traffic patterns. Her work revealed that demand management, operations management, pricing policies, vehicle technology improvements, clean fuels, and integrated land use and transportation planning are the components which have to be pursued in an integrated manner as a part of transport sustainability strategy.

The interest in creating intelligent transport systems as a means of achieving satisfactory safety levels is dependent on the need for powerful databases able to manage the data. Maria and Ruiz (2005) examined the different areas in which geographic information system technology (GIS-T) can be used for efficient traffic control and management of road network. Their work revealed that GIS-T integrates land management, planning of new infrastructure, integral traffic control, inter-modal integration of transport plying on the road network and management of road space to ease the flow of traffic thereby controlling congestion.

Xu (2003) indicates, telemetric products and services for individual means of transport are based on the integration of digital maps and radio data systems / traffic message channels for the transmission of traffic data, Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) for the transmission of travel data and mobile telephone communications and other additional sensors needed to gather travel information in real time.

The role of GIS is therefore pivotal towards development of ITS. Traffic congestion is a vexing problem felt by residents of most urban areas. Traffic control and road network management in real-time is a complex field. Remodeling of roads as well as the number of ways to interface with vehicle drivers and travelers is increasing. A top-down, strategic approach is needed to ensure that technology is used in an appropriate and effective way for efficient traffic control and management of road networks .

New technology offers the capability for rapid collection, processing and dissemination of data and information that would enable efficient traffic control as well different strands of road network to be managed collectively and coherently. 3. Research Methodology Our experience with solving local problems is based on importing solutions from other countries. It would be out of context to say that these solutions do not assist in circumscribing the problem but more often than not they fail to deliver the optimum results.

Adapting international practices to the local setting can help improve the impact and sustainability of solution to the problem shortlisted for implementation. Learning from indigenous knowledge by investigating first what local communities know and have, can improve understanding of local conditions and provide a productive context for activities designed to help the communities find solution to the problem. Indigenous knowledge about the various contours of the problem therefore provides the necessary data which when utilized in consonance with best international practices delivers the desired results.

The methodology which will be applied in the study has been chosen in order to acquire information and deduce conclusions about the selection of appropriate traffic control initiatives combined with initiatives designed to efficient management of road network for Islamabad. 3. 1Purpose of Study and Type of Investigation This paper argues the case for ITS through a better integrated approach towards road network management for ensuring mobility of people and goods through integration of management issues, information technology and traffic routing systems.

For the above reason, this research will take an exploratory approach. According to Sekaran (2002) an exploratory study is undertaken when not much is known about the situation at hand, or when sufficient information is available on how similar problems or research issues have been solved in the past. The aim will be to gain familiarity with the issues, and to gain a deeper understanding about the topic. 3. 2Data Collection For the purpose of this research both primary and secondary data was collected and utilized. Primary data was collected in two ways.

Firstly, interviews were carried out with commuters to identify areas and issues which need to be addressed in Islamabad for improving traffic control and better road network management. Secondly, a questionnaire survey was conducted to prioritize the issues and recommend solutions. The secondary data used has contributed towards the formation of background information, needed by both the researcher in order to build constructively the project and the reader to comprehend more thoroughly the survey outcome. 3. 3 Sample Design Ideally one desires to study the entire population.

However, usually it is impossible or unfeasible to do this and therefore one must settle for a sample. According to Black (2006), sample is a portion of elements taken from a population, which is considered to be representative of the population. In order to collect primary data the questionnaire survey technique was used. For the purpose of this study random probability sampling was selected. According to Akhtar (2000), sample sizes larger than 30 and less than 500 are appropriate for most researches. Accordingly, the sample size consisted of about 100 respondents. 4. Results 4. 1Interviews

The issues identified due to interviews conducted with commuters within the context of integrated issue of traffic control and road network management in Islamabad are as under:- •Future Development oWider roads. oDesign of roads to allow expansion. oSufficient roadside drainage facilities for surface runoff. oIncorporate passage of utilities. oCohesion between various line departments. oModeling to ease flow of traffic. oTransit, pedestrian and bicycle friendly development. •Conventional Traffic Flow Improvements oTraffic signal timing. oTraffic signal coordination. oBottleneck removal. Restructuring of security checkpoints. oDensity calculation. oImposition of toll based on vehicle occupancy. oDiversion of traffic on connecting roads. oTicketing on vehicles parked on roads to pick up school children. oPrevent walking on busy roads. oShoulders to be converted into lanes for use by bicycles / motorcycles. •Modal Substitution oTransit, ridesharing, cycling improvements and incentives. oMass transit system. oRevamping of public transport system. •Intelligent Traffic System Improvements oSmart roads. oCorridor flow of traffic. oRouting and scheduling enhancements. Accident and incidence management. oCentralized nerve system. •Awareness Programs oRadio updates. oDriver education. oLeaflets. oRoad billboards. •Pricing Incentives for Easing Road Usage oImposition of road tax on vehicles not registered in Islamabad. oVehicle tax to be assessed on fuel efficiency, fuel consumption, road space occupied, weight and expected life. oVehicle registration based on residency verification and not on property holding. oOther impact fees based on assessed usage. 4. 2Survey The results of survey yielded the following results:- 4. 2. 1. Valid Driving License 4. 2. 2.

Mode of Traveling 4. 2. 3. Importance of Values 4. 2. 4. Means to Ease Traffic Congestion 4. 2. 5. Traffic Police Performs to Manage Flow of Traffic and Road Network 4. 2. 6. Maturity of Traffic Control System 4. 2. 7. Technology Intervention Can Improve Traffic Flow and Road Network Management 4. 2. 8. Better Facilities for Pedestrians and Cyclists Can Ease Flow of Traffic 4. 2. 9. Improvement of Public Transport and Introduction of Mass Transit System Can Help Ease Traffic Congestion 4. 2. 10. Best Initiative(s) for Easing Flow of Traffic 4. 2. 11. Support for Implementation of ITS 4. 2. 12.

Faith on Civic Managers to Deliver on ITS 4. 2. 13. Financial Commitment for ITS Conclusion Intelligent Transport Systems aim to tackle the problems of road network management. Most proposed systems are already technically feasible. • Various safety systems exist that warn of hazards or that automatically intervene to assist the driver. • Safety systems need to be carefully implemented to avoid giving the driver too much or too little to do. •Congestion could be reduced by road charging, and by better network management and information provision. • Road charges could reflect the costs of congestion and pollution.

However, such a system could be expensive. • Integrating different systems can reduce costs. References Hernandez , Ossowski S. , and Garcia-Serrano (2002). Multi agent architectures for intelligent traffic management systems, Transportation Research Part C 10 473–506. Martin, Marini & Tosunoglu (2008). Geographic Information Systems and Intelligent Transport Systems: Technologies used to form new communication networks, NETCOM volume 17. Deakin, E. (2006). Sustainable Development and Sustainable Transport: Strategies for Economic Prosperity, Environmental Quality and Equity.

Central London Congestion Charging: Impacts Monitoring, Sixth Annual Report, Transport for London, 2008. 10 Implementation of Road Pricing System, Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, The Netherlands, 2008. Annexure A Questionnaire 1. Do you have a valid driving license? a. Yes b. No 2. What is your mode of traveling? a. Car b. Minibus c. Taxi d. Motorcycle e. Bicycle f. Walking 3. What is more important to you when you are traveling? a. Cost b. Time c. Convenience d. All of above 4. Congestion on roads can best be managed by:- a. Building new roads. . Better Management of road network. 5. Are you satisfied with performance of traffic police in managing flow of traffic and road network management? a. Yes b. No 6. Is the traffic control system mature or requires improvement? a. Mature b. Requires improvement 7. Can induction of technology improve the flow of traffic and road network management? a. Yes b. No 8. Can better facilities for pedestrians and cyclists improve the flow of traffic? a. Yes b. No 9. Can improvement of public transport and introduction of mass transit system help ease traffic congestion? . Yes b. No 10. Which initiatives can best ease flow of traffic and ensure effective road network management? a. Corridor flow. b. Smart road. c. Communication of information. d. Remodeling roads. e. Introduction of toll. f. All of above. 11. Should the Intelligent Traffic System be implemented? a. Yes b. No 12. Do you have faith in the current civic managers to deliver if the initiatives are implemented? a. Yes b. No 13. Will you be willing to pay for initiatives to implement an Intelligent Traffic System for better road network management? a. Yes b. No

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