How to Reduce Traffic Jams in Our Cities

By the Mobup Editorial Team

They are a source of stress in the motorists’ lives, but they are also a serious environmental problem: traffic jams are among the most important issues for cities in their urban planning strategies. In mitigating their magnitude, some initiatives have proven to be successful. The following examples could inspire other metropolises in which traffic is a constant challenge.

Using connected cars to ease traffic flow

The Polytechnic University of Turin is specifically interested in connected cars, which could improve traffic. For example, in some US cities, some Audi vehicles interact with traffic lights, while identifying incidents in real time and communicating information such as speed and exact geographical location.

Other than using this information to encourage motorists to take less congested roads for example, the introduction of adaptive and connected speed controls will make driving less abrupt, which will also reduce the infamous “ghost traffic jams” due to sudden braking by the drivers.

In the same vein, a researcher at MIT claims to have developed a new algorithm to reduce the traffic jams that occur spontaneously. This algorithm uses distance radars related to speed controls. When the distance between vehicles becomes too short, the speed is automatically adjusted. According to this researcher, the algorithm was designed on the basis of so-called “damped wave” equations that explain how a wave gets damped in a heavy liquids.

How can we avoid this?

Are tolls at the entrance of cities a real solution?

This question, which has been debated several times in France, is very controversial because it affects the consumer portfolio. However, in some cities, the measure has already been implemented: the city of Stockholm works with dynamic tolls, which control both the number of inbound and outbound vehicles.

Concretely, this innovation has reduced traffic by 20%, shortened the waiting time at various intersections by a quarter and reduced air pollution by 12%. Even though this initiative seems difficult to implement in a metropolis like Paris, we are working to improve the citizens’ quality of lives and reduce the emission of greenhouse gases- without over-penalizing the users. In fact, the French government has committed, within the framework of Grenelle Environment, to increase the public transport network by a factor of 5 across the country by 2030.

Lower speed limit on the road

This is also subject to many debates: the reduction of the speed to 80 km / h (instead of 90 km / h) on our national roads has had the merit of allowing for a decrease not only in pollution, but also in congestion. According to Inrix’s estimates, traffic jams decreased by 36% as a result of this measure. The Ademe, an agency devoted to the environment and energy management, confirms the effectiveness of this kind of initiative: on certain parts of the highway, the speed is sometimes lowered by 10 km/h in order to ensure a more fluid traffic flow (especially during crossover periods).

Reward drivers that avoid rush hour

Following the principle of “Nudge Marketing”, Netherlands has decided to encourage good behaviour rather than penalizing those who do not benefit from the ecosystem. Thus, users who have been refusing to take their car at peak times since 2010 are entitled to 3 € cash, or 3,50 € on a public transport card (which can represent up to 120 € in monthly earnings). As a result, traffic decreased by 5 to 10% in Rotterdam during peak hours. In the same context of incentive policies, many cities are putting in place more attractive and adaptable means of transport to the consumer needs, such as free autonomous shuttles. In this situation too, this is an ecological and profitable solution for all, which makes it possible to increase the mobility offering, to limit the use of cars and to improve the comfort of users.

This article was published in partnership with Mobup.

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