V2I technology used in innovative trial to keep Sydney’s freight traffic moving

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Cohda Wireless’s connected vehicle equipment is being applied in an innovative trial of vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) technology that aims to reduce traffic congestion in Sydney, Australia.

The trial, an initiative of Transport for New South Wales in conjunction with the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), seeks to remedy traffic congestion by better managing the flow of trucks. More than 100 participating freight vehicles have been fitted with Cohda’s wireless technology to enable them to effectively ‘talk’ to traffic lights, keeping the light green as they approach so that they keep moving through the intersection, as opposed to having to slow down, stop and pull off again, which has proved to be a major cause of traffic congestion. Expanding on an existing connected vehicle system, which grants priority to late-running buses in Sydney, the new freight vehicle pilot uses a new application of the city’s Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS).

The trial site consists of 25 miles (40km) of important freight routes in Pennant Hills, Parramatta and King Georges roads, some of the busiest thoroughfares in the region. Cohda Wireless will be working closely with RMS and Transport for New South Wales to analyze the results over the three-month period of the trial. Part of the NSW Government’s Innovation Initiative to tackle congestion, the project is also seen as a move toward Sydney becoming a Smart City.

“We have all experienced the frustration of being stuck behind a truck as it slowly grinds up through the gears once the light turns green. Sometimes the light turns red again before we even reach the intersection. By coordinating traffic lights and trucks, we hope to gain evidence of improvements to the flow of traffic on these roads,” explained Cohda’s chief engineer, Fabien Cure. “The results of the trial will be of great interest to a global audience of city transport authorities, as it will test whether traffic flow in a defined corridor has improved, the CO2 footprint of the specific intersections has reduced, and the amount of fuel saved by the trucks involved.”

Cohda says that in its experience, road operators that wish to implement Smart City infrastructure in order to realize the benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles can find themselves in a ‘chicken vs egg scenario’. Cities need to deploy connected infrastructure to support the concept, but some find it hard to justify the cost of this deployment before there are vehicles that can make use of it. To solve this problem, Cohda has developed a three-phase Smart City Architecture roll-out model.

In Phase 1, foundation applications that can generate immediate net benefits to the road operator are deployed. Having Phase 1 implemented, the appropriate infrastructure is already in place when V2X Connected Vehicles hit the road in Phase 2, and then Connected Autonomous Vehicles in Phase 3. For the road operator to unlock the benefits enabled by new vehicles in the second and third phases, their infrastructure only requires new software.

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James joined the Traffic Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter who keeps him busy.

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