15 Nov 2021 | Blog
A group of Canadian college students got creative recently, taking on the challenge of how a major city could improve transportation management using new technologies. They took part in the recent Rogers 5G, IoT and Smart Traffic Case Competition, in collaboration with the University of British Columbia (UBC), the City of Vancouver, and NoTraffic.
The competition fielded seven teams and over 50 under- and post-graduate students, coming from a variety of academic fields. The competition challenged them to take on the role of traffic specialist Vancouver and propose a use case of how the city could use 5G, IoT and smart traffic technology.
NoTraffic is a Rogers business partner in urban traffic management technology. A leading internet and communications company in Canada, Rogers is always seeking innovative solutions for their customers and wanted the students to brainstorm their ideas with access to advanced technology.
Justin Effinger, our Sr. Traffic Engineer, participated as a mentor & judge in the Case Competition. The dual role was interesting as Justin explains: “The teams would outline their initial ideas and ask questions on traffic signals and arterial management, which they used to refine their ideas. It was cool to see the evolution of their initial ideas to their final presentations.”
Our data sets provided before-and-after data on traffic flow at five main corridor intersections that students could use to analyze emissions, delay reduction, and economic benefits of their solutions.
The first-place team proposed building an IoT platform that motivates drivers to opt for lower emissions routes when they drive. The platform would inform drivers using a navigation application of route congestion spots and provide lower emission route alternatives. Drivers who opted to take the lower emission route would earn credits they could use on other services, such as paying for parking.
The IoT platform concept designed by the students included deploying 5G MEC devices that connect to traffic sensors, and deliver the data to the mapping and navigation applications. Using the provided data sets, the team estimated the platform would save over three million hours of travel time and reduce carbon emissions by 48.14 thousand metric tons.
The second-place team’s proposal also reduced emissions, but did so by focusing on public transportation. The team proposed using passenger counts on 5G-connected buses so traffic signals could prioritize vehicles based on passenger load.
By prioritizing buses with higher passenger loads, their plan would minimize bus bunching, lower emissions from idling buses, and reduce travel times and delays.
Justin notes that the teams “liked NoTraffic’s optimization capabilities. They liked the idea of optimizing traffic based on real-time demand versus the traditional timed interval approach that can’t handle variations in traffic.”
The students’ creativity was fascinating, and we were excited to take part in the Rogers IoT and 5G Case Competition. We’re always looking for new ways to partner and collaborate with other innovators working to build smart cities around the world.
NoTraffic is going to be at ITS America (December 7-10 in Charlotte, NC), CES® 2022 (January 5-8 in Las Vegas, NV), and the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting (January 9-13 in Washington, D.C.) over the next couple of weeks. Come find us at any of these conferences and we can talk about the possibilities.
University of British Columbia: Leveraging 5G and Students Brain Power
Rogers for Business: How Smart Traffic Makes Roads Safer and More Intelligent