Sunday, June 2, 2013

Field Test Amsterdam

Praktijk Proef Amsterdam (PPA) translates to Field or Practice Test Amsterdam.  It is a coordinated network-wide traffic management and ITS project that began in the Amsterdam region by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment in 2012 and will run through 2014, with final evaluation results to be
provided in 2015.  The objective of this test is to achieve shorter and more reliable travel times in the Amsterdam Region.  What is learned will later be used to assist with the development of a national policy and the Traffic Management 2030 Development Strategy.

In-car track by Connekt

The system works by placing the information systems on, above and alongside the roadways in an effort to identify and predict congestion.  Additional information systems will be inside vehicles, either in-car, or with smart phones or navigation systems.  The system senses traffic loads along a road and makes predictions about the possibility of increased congestion.  Using algorithms, traffic controls devices in the area (signals and ramp meters) will alter their patterns to either divert traffic, or slow incoming traffic in an effort to keep the flow of vehicles moving. The basic idea is that with better monitoring, the system will be able to predict when a traffic jam might occur and take early measures to mitigate or avoid the issue.  In addition to adjusting traffic control devices, the program will communicate traffic conditions with drivers.  Moving beyond the roadside reader boards, the system will be able to communicate with smart phones and navigation devices.  This ability to talk to mobile devices that people already own allows for better distribution of information at a lower infrastructure cost since fewer reader boards are required.  With this in-car information service, the congestion should start later, be smaller in the area involved, and resolve quicker.  Specific to Amsterdam, the benefits will be better traffic flow on the Ring Road, and less lines on the ramps to access the A10, and there will be less cut-through traffic on the intercity streets.

Coordinated network-wide traffic
Due to the complexity of the test project, this test was divided into three phases, with evaluation before and after each phase.  The first phase has begun and should be completed in mid-2013.  This involved developing the software that would match traffic along each road within a very limited area.  Streamline is a dynamic traffic model used for the whole area, while VISSUM is the micro simulation used for the S motorways and major roads.  With the amount of data gathered during the before conditions, and additional information gathered after the changes, the traffic flow software can be reviewed for accuracy and revised as needed.  If successful, phase two would expand the pilot area, add digital information panels (DRIPs) which are involved in the control concept and will work together with the in-car systems.  Phase three would expand the pilot area to the entire Amsterdam Region.

Evaluation will be on the functionality of the devices, the cooperation between road authorities and the market, the impact of the measure on the behavior and perception of road users, the effects on traffic, any environmental impacts such as noise and air quality, the impact on the road, and the policy effects which include a cost-benefit analysis and findings for a national roll-out.  With each evaluation, there will need to be the decision whether to continue to the next phase of the project based on the observed results. 


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