The City of Cologne, Germany, and IBM announced completion of a six week smarter traffic pilot to predict and manage traffic flow and road congestion in the city, designed to anticipate, manage, and sometimes avoid traffic jams and trouble spots across using analytics technology.
The city’s traffic engineers and IBM claimed to have been able to predict traffic volume and flow with over 90% accuracy up to 30 minutes in advance - meaning travellers would be able to better plan ahead and determine whether they should leave at a different time, plan an alternate route or use a different mode of transportation using the technology.
“The traffic prediction pilot results are very encouraging,” said Thomas Weil, Director of the Cologne Traffic Control Center. “Having the ability to create actionable insight from the traffic monitoring data gives us an ability to better manage congestion as well as provide citizens with more precise traffic information. Our Traffic Command Center would be able to optimize current traffic flow while anticipating and planning for potential traffic incidents.”
Cologne, Germany’s fourth largest city with a population of just over one million, is a retail centre, hub for trade shows and a cultural centre with many museums and galleries. The increase in traffic density and congestion encourage the City to seek out new ways to better manage and optimise traffic flow and increase the capacity of its transportation networks within the constraints of its infrastructure.
The city's traffic command centre collects real-time data from more than 150 monitoring stations and 20 traffic cameras on the roads, highways and at intersections known to be traffic hot spots. However, the command centre currently doesn't have advanced traffic management tools or a way to forecast what traffic will be like in the near future. The advanced transportation management software is designed to help traffic officials identify imminent road congestion and help them plan and respond ahead of time.
Short-term traffic forecasting
IBM transportation experts and researchers worked with the City of Cologne to analyse data from its traffic monitoring stations along the on the left bank of the Rhine for a period of six weeks with the aid of the IBM Traffic Prediction Tool and IBM Intelligent Transportation solutions. The results, comparing the accuracy of the traffic prediction tool to the real-time data, revealed the accuracy of short-term forecasting for 30 minutes ahead to be 94% for vehicle speed and 87% for the volume of traffic it was claimed.