GREEN LIGHT DATA: Support for connected vehicle technology grows

The RAC Foundation is supporting trials of connected vehicle technology which could reduce congestion and cut emissions.

The State of the Connected Nation report from the Transport Technology Forum (TTF) looks at a range of projects that include “smarter parking, using new data to address road maintenance, better ways to set traffic signals to reduce emissions and congestion, and providing better information and intelligence”.

One system under trial is Green Light Optimal Speed Advice (GLOSA) which sends drivers data to tell them the best speed to approach traffic signals so they do not have stop at red.

The trial locations include the A45 Coventry Road in Birmingham and the route to the construction site of the Hinkley C nuclear power station.

The report – written by Andy Graham of White Willow Consulting – shows there are “multiple potential benefits such as cutting emissions and particulates by using technology to reduce stops at traffic signals by 14 per cent, improving the efficiency of traffic signal timings to cut delays by up to 30 per cent and using connected vehicles to measure road quality, leading to a five per cent cut in maintenance costs”.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation and also the chair of the TTF, said: “The fact that modern vehicles have the capacity to communicate with everything around them creates endless possibilities. Enabling drivers to surf a wave of green lights, so smoothing traffic and cutting congestion, is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The challenge comes in fitting the technology into an end-to-end process – for example a sat nav would be no more use than a paper map if it wasn’t able to take account of live traffic conditions to plot the best route.

“Technology that provides advice for motorists to act on is just one step toward the fast approaching world of automated vehicles when it will be the car, not the driver, taking the decisions.”

The RAC Foundation is due to publish its own report by And Graham, to establish which elements must be in place “to achieve the benefits of connectivity in practice and, ideally, at scale, to reveal the gaps and issues that need to be addressed, and to generate ideas for potential fixes”.

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