Ruhrpilot integrates a large number of ex- isting and newly installed systems. For exam- ple, it collates data from several thousand sen- sors that are concealed in road surfaces and on bridges and pylons to gather information on traffic density, direction and speed. All of this data is fed into a central computer that compiles it into a report on the current traffic situation. Information about congestion or road construction is then disseminated by means of radio announcements, mobile phones, navigation systems and the Internet.
ten out of date. In many cases, a radio warn- ing of congestion on the road refers to the end rather than the beginning of a bottle- neck. By contrast, Ruhrpilot uses simulation calculations to forecast traffic developments up to 60 minutes in advance and provide a general overview of the traffic situation in the coming two weeks. According to Schade, this intelligence system offers other advantages as well, “Thanks to our simulation calcula- tions, we can reduce congestion, bottlenecks and accidents by up to 20 percent and CO2
nership, which is handling operation,” says Ramachers. He believes that this kind of co- operation between governments and private companies is a promising model for the fu- ture, especially in the area of traffic manage- ment. Hanns Ludwig Brauser, CEO of Projekt Ruhr GmbH, which commissioned Ruhrpilot, is equally satisfied with the results. “Ruhrpilot isn’t just a vision, it’s a practical plan for the future. The solutions it provides are benefit- ing passenger car traffic as well as local pub- lic transportation throughout the entire Ruhr region. Never before has a system anywhere electronically registered comprehensive infor- mation about the entire public and private traffic situation for a region of this size.”
Ruhrpilot can predict traffic developments an hour in advance.
“Travelers can go online to find out the best possible travel route, using all the available means of transportation, and the time it will require. For example, a traveler might be di- rected to drive to a certain parking lot and then transfer to a bus or a subway,” says Lud- wig Ramachers, who is in charge of the Ruhrpilot project and its application. The proj- ect consortium is led by Siemens and also in- cludes PTV AG, the German Data Association (DDG) and the Essen public transportation company, Essener Verkehrs-AG.
Another advantage of Ruhrpilot is that the information it communicates is continuously updated. Previously, traffic forecasts were of-
emissions by as much as 10 percent.” Ruhr- pilot can also improve the capacity utilization of highways and railroads.
In service since April 2005, the system pro- vides simulation calculations of the traffic sit- uation throughout the road network, geo-in- formation for digital maps, route planning, and urban planning information. By the time the World Cup begins in June 2006, Ruhrpilot will be delivering updated, dynamic traffic in- formation for the Ruhr heartland. And by the end of 2007 the entire Ruhr region will have comprehensive coverage.
“The Ruhrpilot project was made possible by public financing and a public-private part-
Seattle’s Flexible Tolls. Many traffic ex- perts are convinced that traffic can also be managed through drivers’ wallets, and they cite the London traffic toll as a good example. In a few years, when drivers switch on their car radios they may hear announcements like the following: “Between 4 and 6 p.m., the use of Highway A1 will cost four euros instead of the present two. However, the toll for Ex- pressway 3 has been reduced from two euros to one.” A pilot project in the densely popu- lated Puget Sound region near Seattle, Wash- ington, is investigating whether such meas- ures can persuade drivers to use cheaper stretches of highway and thus smooth out the flow of traffic. As part of the project, Siemens
Ultramodern navigation systems (above) process the latest recommendations for drivers. In the near future, 8,000 London buses will be monitored via satellite (above right) so that travel times can be shortened and passengers can find out when their bus will arrive. And in Seattle (bottom) a satellite-based toll system with flexible tolls for road use is now being tested. red buses are off to a good start. Through the ”Transport for London” project, an operation management system registers how punctually the buses arrive at their stops and the quality of their transport services. The transport com- panies are assessed according to these criteria when they apply to renew their licenses for certain bus routes. set up a toll system with state-of-the-art mo- bile radio and satellite technology in early 2005. their routes according to cooperative criteria, they’ll be the richer for it. Telematic systems can also improve the punctuality of public transportation services. In London, for instance, the 30 private trans- port companies that operate the city’s famous To ensure the project’s success, Transport for London ordered an operation manage- ment system from Siemens that can monitor Small computers inside vehicles, known as onboard units or OBUs, record the vehicle’s position in real time via GPS and use GSM mo- bile radio to communicate with the central management system. Personnel at the center archive the position data, manage user ac- counts and prepare monthly overviews of highway use. The highway network has been divided into 8,000 segments in order to cre- ate a precise image of drivers’ behavior on the road. The system can identify with great pre- cision which segments are being most heavily used, and it uses this information to calculate the tolls for each individual driver. As part of the test, 500 initial participants, chosen to be demographically representative, received a virtual sum of money from which the tolls they owe will be deducted. If the drivers act intelligently and always use the cheapest route available, they will have some virtual money left over at the end of the test, which they will be able to exchange for a cash pay- ment. The project’s operators hope this will encourage the drivers to use realistic criteria when they’re on the road. If they have chosen NEW YORK’S SUBWAYS TO BE FASTER AND SAFER The monitoring system of New York City’s century-old subway network is under- going a complete overhaul, thanks to a joint project of Siemens and the system’s operator, New York City Transit (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004, p. 16). “This is one of the most complex subway automation projects ever carried out,” says project leader Jörg Nuttelmann from Siemens Transportation Systems. “The monitoring system, which is also being used in Berlin, channels all the information from the subway network into a control center. The system compares information on train speeds and destinations with scheduling data and informs passengers by means of electronic message boards.” In addition, starting in early 2006, a communication-based train control sys- tem will be used — initially on just one route — to enable the trains to automatically communicate with one another and with the control center. The trains will be controlled and information will be exchanged via radio signals rather than induction loops. The system will enable more trains to travel faster through the network and thus use the infrastructure more efficiently. A sim- ilar system serves Line 14 of the Paris Metro.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2005