Is Future Mobility Stuck in the Past?
As we approach Highways UK this year, it’s hard not to reflect on the current trends facing the transport industry. Events this year have been focused how we can deal with the unexpected circumstances 2020 keeps throwing at us, whilst still preparing our networks for future mobility and all the exciting technology that are forming part of the landscape. GLOSA (Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory) is part of what is being shouted about right now, just check out the increase in searches:
Source: Google Trends¹
Despite the recent surge in news coverage, GLOSA isn’t anything new. In fact, TRL Software teamed up with TfL for one of the first UK deployments during the Olympics back in 2012. GLOSA is simply a small step on the larger journey towards connected and autonomous vehicles, CAV’s. But before this goes too far, first a recap of what GLOSA is all about:
Definition: Vehicle system that receives upcoming traffic signal cycle information over V2X communication channels and uses relative vehicle position to compute and display a speed recommendation that, if adopted by the driver, would allow the vehicle to pass the upcoming traffic lights during a green interval, thereby reducing stops at red lights.
BSI CAV Vocabulary, Version: 3.0, Release date: October 2020²
On the face of it, it’s a relatively simple concept. A limited two-way exchange of information; car and signals, your position, the signal timing and a calculation of the optimal cruise speed to arrive as the lights change to green, avoiding the need to either stop or restart.
In reality, GLOSA is a lot harder than this for a variety of reasons:
- Vendor compatibility – what vendors hardware is in use, its capabilities and interoperability.
- “Technology all the things” – one of the main tenets of the “smart city” is that it involves extensive instrumentation across the urban environment (more on this later)
- Data access – being able to access the right data, at the right time and getting it to the right place and finally (we will come back to this too)
- Speed – how quickly data is moved and shared.
Take it back to 2010, and TRL Software’s earliest involvement with GLOSA, or “Cooperative Traffic Signals” as it was called back then, during the build up to the London Olympics. With BMW as the official supplier of transportation for VIPs of the Olympic family during the games, they asked TfL to provide real-time traffic signal data to investigate a technology which could result in a more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly fleet as a result of smoother traffic flow.
As the main research body, and creators of SCOOT® (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique), TRL Software were uniquely positioned to design, implement and then support the data extraction from the TfL SCOOT® UTC, then provide as required for the Olympic fleet. All the while, working to meet the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and ensuring:
- Smoothing of traffic flows by providing road users with advanced knowledge of traffic signal changes
- Reduced emissions through smoothed traffic flows
- Provide a wealth of information about journeys on the road network which can be used to monitor performance and detect both temporary and recurring issues
- Reduce the need for on-street equipment.