Adapting to every situation with ImFlow, MOVA and SCOOT
As traffic volumes increase and the supporting infrastructure becomes more complex, traffic control methods must also evolve. While older strategies, such as Fixed Time or Actuated, still have their uses, the current age of smart technology that no longer needs to be told what to do opens up new opportunities. For several years now, smart, adaptive software has been making inroads in traffic control. In the UK, Dynniq currently works with three algorithms: the popular SCOOT and MOVA, developed by TRL, and a solution that has just hit the British market – the Dynniq-developed ImFlow. ImFlow has already been successfully deployed in over 350 European cities, and is now available for UK-approved traffic light controllers.
ImFlow: popular around the world, now also in the UK
So far, Dynniq in the Netherlands has deployed over 1,000 ImFlow systems worldwide, with about 350 in cities across Europe. Since the UK is one of the largest signal controller markets in the industry, we believe this cutting-edge technology is the perfect next step for network operators to help drivers across towns, cities and motorways reach their destination safely and in good time.
Adaptive traffic control with exciting, new advantages
Our popular algorithms, SCOOT and MOVA, excel in networks and junctions, respectively. However, neither can combine both functionalities. Responding to a growing need for this cross-functionality in the market, Dynniq has developed a unique solution known as ImFlow. This software can do what the existing adaptive strategies do, but with some exciting advantages:
- It uses pre-defined policies that can be applied to any junction, route or larger area;
- According to policy objectives, it can distinguish and prioritise different modes of transport (e.g. cyclists, buses, trucks, emergency services);
- It has interfaces to Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) infrastructure (see below), using published, open protocols;
- It can simultaneously optimise individual junctions and routes across the road network;
Connecting with individual drivers through C-ITS
In practice, ImFlow calculates the smartest sequence of lights every second, based on policy objectives and safety. If two policy objectives are in conflict with each other, the software determines which outweighs the other on the basis of the relative importance set by the user. For example, to encourage green mobility, the user can give priority to public transport and cyclists in city centres, or lorry drivers tapping into the system can catch ‘green waves’ as they make their way around a town. This two-way communication with connected road users is a result of the fact that ImFlow comes with a built-in, industry standard interface that connects to Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS). The feature helps drivers make real-time driving decisions, while feeding live data back to the system. Communication can occur via G5 wireless, 4G/5G cellular networks, or by means of a local Roadside Unit.
ImFlow is halfway between SCOOT and MOVA, but it does not replace them by any means. Each of these two algorithms is designed for specific situations and that is where their unique functionalities really shine.
MOVA, for isolated junctions
MOVA (Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation) is a strategy for controlling traffic light signals at isolated junctions or stand-alone pedestrian crossings. It is designed to respond to the full range of traffic conditions, from very low flows to overloaded junctions, adapting adapt signals to the need of the moment.
The algorithm runs independently at each junction without the need for communicating with a centralised base. Although the system can be set up to allow a basic form of responsive linking between consecutive junctions, it does not provide the full coordination SCOOT does. This makes it ideal for junctions and crossings in less urban areas and it is why we offer it in combination with our Chameleon outstation, as part of our Remote Management System (RMS).
SCOOT, for dense urban networks
SCOOT (Split Cycle and Offset Optimisation Technique) is a software package designed to optimise networks of junctions that are close together: it coordinates traffic lights so that traffic can flow optimally across dense urban areas. By maximising the use of live data from vehicle detectors, SCOOT quickly adjusts traffic signal settings in order to reduce delays. By responding intelligently and continuously as traffic flows change and fluctuate throughout the day, SCOOT also makes an end to dependence on costly, less sophisticated signal plans. At Dynniq, we have incorporated SCOOT into our Traffic Management System (TMS) to help operators of large networks manage traffic signals with maximum efficiency and minimum environmental impact.