Tracking Traffic: New technology to help check traffic conditions in real-time

By Karl Andrei Luarez

PHOTO: ABC News: Nick Haggarty

Have you ever gone about your day smoothly, when all of a sudden, a frustrating traffic jam appears out of nowhere? Well, you are not alone because countless people worldwide also face this problem. Because of this, the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government is putting in the effort to alleviate congestion in Canberra, Australia via the latest technology that monitors real-time traffic conditions and provides information to drivers.

The ACT Government intends to implement this new traffic monitoring measure by installing a system of cutting-edge technology, such as Bluetooth sensors and new intersection cameras, at "strategic sites" across parts of Canberra where the traffic conditions are intense.

The data obtained from these traffic management tools would then be used to deliver real-time and up-to-date information to Canberran drivers and commuters about traffic conditions, journey times, and potential road interruptions through wireless road signage, and radio and social media channels.

In addition, the installed Bluetooth sensors would assist in monitoring transit times by utilising the Bluetooth signals of motorists passing through junctions using Media Access Control (MAC) addresses.

Ben Hubbard, senior manager of Traffic Management and Safety, explained in an interview with ABC News Australia, "it’ll pick up a MAC address at one location and a timestamp against that, and then pick up a MAC address at the next location and a timestamp against that, and then compare the two times and generate a "journey time" between those two points."

To put simply, they would compare the "journey time" of motorists from one place to another in order to forecast potential congestion.

Additionally, real-time traffic footage is relayed to ACT Traffic Management and Safety in an effort to assist in times of extreme congestion or in the event of an accident on the road.

According to Chris Steel, Australia's Minister for Transport, in an interview with ABC News Australia, "providing reliable information in real time will mean commuters can make informed choices before or during their trip. This might mean choosing a different route, travelling at a different time, or jumping on public transport."

Also in an interview with ABC News Australia, the Australian National Roads and Motorist’s Association (NRMA) Spokesperson, Peter Khoury, stated, "the new traffic monitoring technology is a good way to plan ahead for governments to understand where the pressure points are that they need to fix."

With the risk of increased Canberran congestion growing as the ACT Light Rail Stage 2A construction nears its debut, Australian officials have promised that these new measures will be implemented before substantial congestion arises.

This latest traffic monitoring system could provide a new means to monitor traffic worldwide and effectively manage congestion in countries where it is rampant like the Philippines.
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