Kinematic connected vehicles and what they mean for urban mobility and road safety

4 min read

Unlike vehicles equipped with GPS navigation systems and transmitting only the data on their positions and travel times, recent car models may have on-board computers directly linked to the providers and able to deliver wide array of extra information about car’s kinematic behavior, like braking, acceleration, trip interruption, etc. We call such cars ‘kinematic connected vehicles’ (KCV).

Incorporation of KCV data in Ticon platform allows producing of superlatively detailed and precise knowledge about problematic road spots that add to congestion and create safety problems.

This knowledge helps to eliminate serious safety threats or congestion sources through miniscule, extremely cheap and easy to implement improvement measures.

Ticon traffic experts performed an evaluation of Connected Cars data for the City of Reno, where KCV had supplied 739,157 trip records for the territory of 45 sq. miles. This amount of new information is equivalent to data from 9,000 floating cars performing 10,000 runs per day. Probably, traffic engineers had never experienced such a plentitude of data before.

The analysis of the area revealed a number of fruitful improvement opportunities on a number of major roads and intersections in the city an on the highways.  Since the major road network improvement in Reno is planned at the key city crossing (I-580 & I-80), also known as ‘Spaghetti Bowl’, we have chosen this intersection for our illustration. First picture shows a spot on South-to-West ramp of Spaghetti Bowl.  A concentration of Hard Braking events on an extremely short segment right next to Speed Sign strongly suggests the need of immediate relocation of this sign towards the ramp entrance.  

Second picture shows very high concentration of Hard Braking and Hard Acceleration points mixed together on the North-East fork of Southern approach to Spaghetti Bowl. This concentration suggests a need for the improvement, intended to ease traffic re-grouping, which can be achieved by the several different methods.

These easy-to-implement measures can eliminate major safety threats on the main city crossing with total AADT of about 300,000 veh. The necessity of delay reduction here can be further addressed by changing the shape of the ramps and approaches as a part of proposed reconstruction of the Spaghetti Bowl.

Two above spots, as well as the number of others, were automatically discovered by Ticon algorithm in the course of independent case study of the City of Reno traffic network, assisted by consolidation of KCV information with the other Ticon input data. Brooks Rainwater, director of the Center for City Solutions at the National League of Cities was absolutely right to say that the new era of connected vehicles enables “a more granular viewpoint into everything from infrastructure wear-and-tear to detailed traffic flow information and even sidewalk congestion patterns”.