Rapid Flow Blog

Whitepaper on Combining Connected Vehicle and Multi-Modal Tech with Adaptive Traffic Control Systems to Decrease Traffic Congestion

Posted on March 03, 2021

Stephen Smith, Ph.D. , our co-founder and Chief Scientist here at Rapid Flow Technologies, recently authored a whitepaper about how our Routecast communication system allows multi-modal travelers to share route information with our Surtrac adaptive traffic control system in order to achieve up to 40% additional delay improvement.

The paper focuses on real-world field tests of travelers sharing their route, location, and other information through the Routecast API. Here’s how it works:

  1. Surtrac’s edge-compute AI algorithms use data feeds from video, radar, or inductive loop detection systems to optimize the timing of traffic signals yielding an average of 20%+ delay improvement -- for every five minutes previously wasted in traffic, Surtrac saves one minute -- and because the detection is passive and Surtrac is not a re-routing system, travelers don’t have to do a thing to receive this benefit.
  2. Through the addition of Routecast, travelers can voluntarily share their route via a smartphone or embedded CV (connected vehicle) technology. This additional data allows Surtrac to make even better optimization decisions yielding an additional 20-40% delay improvement for Routecasters and a 1-20% improvement for non-Routecasters.

Routecast whitepaper cover

It is important to note that the Surtrac adaptive traffic signal control system is not re-routing anyone, nor is it just switching lights to green for the Routecasters because it knows their route. Rather, the Routecasters are providing better data to Surtrac so it has more certainty about the future and thus needs to make fewer assumptions and predictions about where travelers at the intersection are going next. And because Surtrac’s objective function is to reduce total delay at the intersection for all travelers, this information from Routecasters allows Surtrac to better optimize for everyone at the intersection, resulting in 1-20% incremental improvement for non-Routecasters. In this way, Routecast is fair and equitable for all travelers - everyone receives an average 30% from baseline Surtrac with passive detection, then up to 40% additional improvement as more people Routecast, providing Surtrac intelligent traffic signal control with better data.

Download Whitepaper

In the whitepaper, Smith discusses the methodologies and results from four separate field-tests of the Surtrac + Routecast system including:

  • Argo AI autonomous vehicles (AV) using connected vehicle (CV) technology
  • Human commuters in cars using smartphone apps similar to Apple or Google Maps or Waze
  • City transit buses using a publicly available API
  • Pedestrians with disabilities using a specially designed communication app combining visual, auditory, and haptic interfaces.

The whitepaper concludes with an interesting presentation of how Routecast + Surtrac can be used to create an equitable, self-funding business model allowing a city to deploy such a solution at zero up-front cost. You can download the full whitepaper on our website.

In addition to being the Chief Scientist and co-founder of Rapid Flow Technologies, Smith helped pioneer the field of constraint-based search and optimization modeling, fielding AI-based planning and scheduling systems in a range of application domains -- Smith helped develop the first ever AI deployment in space. Smith is a fellow at the AAAI (Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence) and recently received their prestigious Engelmore Memorial Award for sustained research contributions to applied artificial intelligence and service to the AI community.

If you're interested in learning more about Surtrac and Routecast, and the benefits they provide to both cities and travelers, contact us for a demo of the technologies and their impact in real world scenarios.

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