Intelligent transport system
Transport of people and goods is one of the pilars of civilisation. The
exchange of goods, services and ideas is in foundation of modern economy, as well as it was in the past. However, growing population generates new challenges for traffic control that leaves no space for classic solution but calls for the innovative and multidsciplinary approach based on the latest scientific and technology achievements.
Considered in the past as a self-sufficient and self-controllable system, road traffic issues cannot be resolved by traditional methods today (McDonald et al, 2006; Liu et al, 2008). Latest strategy, research and standardisation developments strongly call for the New-Generation Intelligent Transport System (NG ITS) development, based on cooperation between various navigation, communication and road sensor networks, thus providing so far un-seen excellence in situation awareness (COMeSafety, 2009; Liu et al, 2008). Telecommunications play a vital role in achieving the synergy between various networks, due to both their performance in data transfer, and opportunity to exploit so-far hidden location-related data within telecommunication networks Filjar et al, 2008). Here we argue that the telecom location-related data exploitation, generated and collected by the pure nature of mobile communication networks, will act as a key factor in establishing the New- Generation Intelligent Transport Systems.
Importance of navigation
Navigation is intrinsically embedded in human nature (Farell, 2008; Taylor and Blewitt, 2006, Filjar et al, 2008). Seeing it that way and considering numerous navigation tasks we perform every day, we all can be seen as navigators. Successful guidance of mobile objects from starting to ending point of the voyage following the safest and the most feasible path was, has been and will be one of the most important factors of both prosperity of the economy and survival of individuals (Farell, 2008). However, modern times has brought additional requirement in optimisation of traffic flow, which should be resolved by navigation systems as well (COMeSafety, 2009; McDonald et al, 2006).
Modern road traffic needs the optimisation of traffic flow in order to either resolve or ease the issues like traffic congestions, tails caused by sequential road charging etc. With the satellite navigation systems widely available (GPS fully operational, and Glonass, Beidou and Galileo striving to this condition) and vehicles neatly equipped with various sensors that can be used in traffic control, the task emerges to integrate all available signals and data sets in order to provide optimal situation awareness and optimised traffic control (Farell, 2008; Taylor and Blewitt, 2006; Filjar et al, 2008; Filjar at al, 2004; Filjar, 2008). This task is not only very complex to achieve, but is also need immediatelly to come as a rescue from challenges of modern life and economy.
New-generation intelligent transport systems
The interest in Intelligent Transport systems emerges from the challenges caused by traffic congestion and a synergy of new information technology for simulation, real-time control and communications networks. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) intend to add information and communications technology (ICT) to transport infrastructure and vehicles (COMeSafety, 2009) in an effort to improve:
–quality of means of transport.
Thus, building up Intelligent Transport Systems had the aim to integrate several stakeholders of transport business process (road and other transport network operators, police, customs, telecommunication operators, etc) using technologies like:
• satelite navigation sytems,
• information and communication technologies (mobile communication
systems; positioning, navigation and tracking (PNT) algorithms and
methods; distributed computing),
• advanced sensor elements (state of the road detection, either embedded within the vehicle, or distributed along the road infrastructure). New concept of the Intelligent Transport Systems developments requires smart synergy of all business process stakeholders with all related technologies engaged. The newgeneration
ITS approach (COMeSafety, 2009) has already been agreed upon within related decision-making and standardisation communities (such as, the European Telecommunications Standardisation Institute, ETSI, who established the concept of the newgeneration ITS, as presented on Fig 2). The main issue in the new-generation ITS development is the introduction of co-operativeness, which increases the importance of telecommunication systems involved (COMeSafety, 2009).
Telecoms in support of ng-its development
Telecommunication systems has always been assumed a fundamental component of the ITS (COMeSafety, 2009; Drilo aet al, 2009). Their capabilities intend to be very important for cooperation among road traffic participants and road traffic infrastructure. NG – ITS is considered to substantially improve the level of safety for driving, transportation efficiency, and human comfort and contribute to environment conservation, by controlling the three key elements of human, road and vehicles taking advantage of advanced information and telecommunications technologies. From an architectural perspective the content of above-mentioned elements is structured as the European cooperative ITS architecture view in Figure 3 (COMeSafety, 2009). In actual fact, a certain telecommunication network builds the core for the cooperative behaviour and the basis for all system stations. Numerous data related to whereabouts of mobile phone users are being collected and stored by the telecommunication network. The purpose of collecting these data is to approximately estimate mobile user’s position in order to support operations like charging, hand-over, etc. Simple methods and procedures, such as Cell-ID and Timing Advance (TA)
Fig 1 ITS is the only foreseeable solution for resolving congestion problems in urban areas
Figure 2 General concept of the Intelligent Transport System (courtesy ETSI)
Figure 3 European ITS Communication Architecture (COMeSafety, 2009)
Figure 4 The Anonymous Bulk Location Data unit by Ericsson
Fig 5 System architecture in support of mobile network-based TIS. Public communication systems are used for data exchange between mobile units and the system (data flow related to MPS/ABLD is conducted through the mobile network signalling procedures).
positioning methods, have been deployed in mobile communication systems with a view to support mentioned network operations (Filjar et al, 2008; Taylor and Blewitt, 2006). The collected and in a raw format provided data have not been so far rather exploited. These data, which have been left deeply within the core mobile communication network, can be transformed into valuable information about the networks user’s mobility by applying some modest activities. According to privacy and safety standards, the above-mentioned raw data sets (Cell- ID and TA readings in appropriate timesteps) can can be converted anonymous in a way that the real identifi cation of the mobile communication network user is intentionally dismissed, and an anonymous ID assigned to data (Figure 4). A set of anonymous particles with known essential parameters of movement is formed by this process. These anonymous particles can be further used for creating of near-life time situation status (Liu et al, 2008). Additional integration with geospatial database systems and utilisation of advanced positioning methods (GPS/Galileo/GNSS) can focus the efforts toward continuous monitoring of road network status (Taylor and Blewitt, 2006). It is important to emphasise that the market penetration of GPS-enabled mobile units grows steadily, and that telecommunication networks already provide the means for exchange GPS-related data collected on mobile units with the appropriate mobile communication network elements.
Traffic information system: a case study
Development of a Traffi c Information System (TIS) providing near-real time traffi c status information is a case study for deployment of utilisation of location-related data embedded in mobile communication networks. The accurate traffi c status estimation requiers a large number of data distributed both spatially and in time accross the area of interest. In a classical approach, dedicated floating cars are deployed to act as a mobile traffic sensors. Those should be equipped with special navigation and communication units, and privacy and security issues should be resolved before the implementation, usually by fi nding a group of mobile users who voluntarily provide their location data in order to yield other benefits. For instance, taxi drivers may be interested in providing their whereabouts in exchange for continuous monitoring and assistance in case of being attacked.
Mobile communications-based TIS resolves the obstacles of classical TIS by utilisation of the anonymous mobile user data, combined with GPS readings, where and when available. Every mobile user effectively become a floatin particle, sensing the traffic status of his/her surroundings. Naturally, not everyone can be considered travelling in a vehicle. Therefore, in the process of data preparation a fi ltering procedure is needed to extract only those particle data sets referring to mobile users involved in traffi c. This can be conducted by
monitoring the history of particle’s velocity, for instance. After selection of mobile users involved in traffic, the sets of velocity estimation data area used in traffi c status estimation for specifi ed road segments. The accuracy of the estimation depends on both particle’s velocity and positioning estimation. Processed data and traffi c status estimates for pre-selected road segments are stored in a database and available for provision within various information services (traffi c status on mobile devices, internet, traffic displays along the roads, travel time estimations etc.). An architecture supporting mobile network-based TIS is depicted on Fig 5.
Location-related data collected and stored within the core mobile communication network have been unexploited so far. Recent advancements provide means for exploitation of mobile user locationrelated data for location-based and ITS services, with preserved privacy of mobile users and without need for building separate ITS infrastructure. Improvement of the quality of service for the mobile network-based ITS through development of advanced algorithms and methods for traffic status estimation and system integration with GNSS/GPS-based systems will be issues for further development.
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