Augmenting Smart Traffic Solutions with Cloud

Data is a wonderful thing.

We have seen from navigation apps like Waze, how an accumulation of a lot of data can help drivers estimate their arrival time at their destinations, be guided to avoid traffic jams and in the process also help ease traffic congestion at bottlenecks.

Sena Traffic Systems (Sena) works a little differently. With this Malaysian company, it isn’t vehicles that are the sensors feeding data into a bigger system to be crunched and ultimately produce actionable insights.

Their ‘sensors’ are loop detectors that are stationery and placed on roads instead, to detect vehicles that drive over them.

According to Technical Advisor of Sena Group of Companies, Datuk Ir. Dr. Leong Siew Mun, Sena has commissioned their own dynamic signal controllers which are gradually being installed in KL, Johor Bahru and other cities in Malaysia. With data from loop detectors that are placed on roads, it is already proven that there is travel time savings of 12 to 13 percent, for vehicles on the road.

Adding smarts

But this figure is about to get better.

Traffic controllers like Sena’s can become more accurate now, even smart, with Alibaba Cloud’s data intelligence solutions.

With Alibaba Cloud’s processing capability, as well as its capability to aggregate data from more sources like video, radar and even social media, this data will be very helpful in enhancing accuracy of signals.

In effect, the combined capabilities of both parties can create a smart traffic signal controller.

Dr. Leong explained, “We can use signals to tweak and fine tune the traffic timing of traffic lights.”

Potential applications

This can be applied to emergency response situations so first responder vehicles may reach the emergency scene more quickly. Traffic timing may also be modified in response to changing traffic flow, so that bottlenecks are kept to a minimum, and traffic is always free-flowing.

The application with the hugest potential however, is traffic advisory services. Dr. Leong opined that this may not be limited to only authorities, but also may be made accessible to solutions providers of traffic accident management, or even a platform that hosts e-hailing services that would benefit from route network optimisation.

Video below is about Sena’s Senior Technical Advisor Dr. Leong Siew Mun talking about how to resolve the ghost junction problem with smart traffic solutions.