MOTOR VEHICLE TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON COMPUTER SCIENCE EDUCATION
1.1 Background of the study.
The monitoring and control of vehicular traffic and pedestrians pose a major challenge to transport authorities around the world. The escalating number of vehicles in cities not only has a huge environmental impact, but also results in loss of lives on the road. This situation demands a comprehensive approach involving a system in which both the traffic controls for vehicles and pedestrians are coordinated so that road users are safe and traffic is smoothly flowing. Currently, pedestrian crossings pose a significant hazard in many countries, both in developed and developing countries due to the increase in the number of vehicles. Each year a staggering figure of 500,000 pedestrians are killed all over the world and in China alone from 2000-2004, half a million pedestrians were killed (Zhen Liu, Simulation of Pedestrians in Computer Animation in Proceedings of ICICIC (2) 2006. pp. 229~232.).
The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) claims that 15 to 30 percent of the transportation mode used is walking. According to a telephone survey conducted by the Royal Automobile Club of Spain in the year 2000, walking is highly recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle with no negative side effects. However, it has been the victim of badly controlled traffic, thus increasing the mortality rates of road users. In the large cities of Europe, especially in Spain, people walked to their destinations but this is being seen as dangerous as pedestrians are more vulnerable to road accidents than passengers and drivers of cars (European Transport Safety Council(ETSC),http://www.etsc.be/stats3.ppt.). In a conventional traffic light controller, the traffic lights change at a constant cycle time which is clearly not the optimal solution. The system calculates the cycle time based on average traffic load and disregards the dynamic nature of the traffic load, which aggravates the problem of congestion.
Consequently, we see an urgent need to optimize traffic control algorithms to accommodate the increase in vehicles in urban traffic that experience long travel times due to inefficient traffic light controls and to improve pedestrian’s safety.