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Real time traffic planning increases safety

Using mobile cameras for real-time trafficking forecasting, Helsinki City Planning Department is reducing accidents, congestion and emission in the city.

The traffic planning system was created in collaboration with Tampere University of Technology. The system provides real-time views of traffic and can therefore provide a short-term forecast of traffic volumes, the smoothness of traffic, incidents, punctuality and prevailing conditions.

Traditional traffic data systems which collect data over a longer period can be used in creating forecasts of traffic flows, as well as analysing the effects of different incidents. Forecasts can be helpful when, for example, an accident has occurred and traffic needs to be redirected, or as a means to prepare for the consequences of an accident. However, this style of historic data has its limitations when compared to real-time data. Current overviews of local incidents cannot be reported on accurately, and using historic data can also lead to inefficiences in repair work and maintenance.

Real-time analysis of traffic data not only improves the forecasting of traffic and lead times in repair and maintenance work – it also enables better services for city residents. In addition, data on vacant parking spaces can be distributed to motorists involved in the system. Video material can also be used to reveal when it is time to clear snow from bicycle and pedestrian paths. It is assumed that the project will lead to increased traffic safety, as well as reduced emissions and congestion – reducing costs at the same time.

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