GLOSA in Action:
The Power of SCOOT® 7’s Adaptive Signal Control and Open APIs
The generation and consumption of transport data is a topic that continues to drive mobility-focused conversation. Let’s talk about one part of that: Green Light Optimized Speed Advisory, or more commonly; GLOSA.
The concept of GLOSA isn’t new. Last year we wrote about our implementation for the controlling the signals for the 2012 London Olympics, and car manufacturers have been talking about it for a few years. However, it’s still not in the mainstream and remains relatively untested for commercial use on our roads despite the potential benefits. KL Systems’ George Brown, however, has been pushing ahead with a R&D project exploring approaches to GLOSA and its presentation in vehicles.
For the trial, KL systems embraced the principles of GLOSA; as the driver approaches a set of UTC Connected Traffic Lights, they are advised visually and audibly via the cars built-in infotainment unit. As the car proceeds the system advises the optimal Green light speed and when the vehicle gets closer counts the driver in with the current state of the lights and the seconds to Green or Green remaining. Using built-in infotainment system displays and synthesised speech fed through the vehicles audio systems, the trial explored the different possibilities for communicating with drivers in-vehicle, together with the performance and ease of use of different SCOOT provided UTC data sources.
Anyone familiar with SCOOT principles will know the time at which the signals are predicted to change is a best estimation – SCOOT is constantly adapting and optimising the signal timings in order to control the traffic and minimise delay. This means the actual time of the change could differ from that initially predicted, but the system constantly updates the car second by second on the approach so the driver is updated in real-time. This is one of many challenges facing GLOSA, the principles of which are relatively simple, that makes it a complex task to implement in real life.
The first step in the journey is to have the data available. This is where SCOOT® 7 comes in. Using the X41 SCOOT messages, exported from our UTC in a region of Greater Manchester, KL Systems were able to emulate a working GLOSA system. These X41 messages were designed specifically to provide the information necessary for GLOSA type applications and are unique to SCOOT® 7. Our UTC’s API, initiated in 2020, then allows access to the SCOOT data by anyone (who is given permission) in a format readily useable by applications. With GLOSA, the information is translated into the guidance given to the driver in their car.
George Brown from KL Systems commented that “The TRL X41 data feed is a subscription based (push) service providing second by second live data direct from the TRL UTC system. It is effectively ‘GLOSA out of the box’ and in my view is a significant step forward in building the infrastructure to support the wider use of GLOSA. Access to the feed has been enormously helpful in supporting my research.”
During this trial, the principles of GLOSA operation have been demonstrated and the information given to the drivers may tip the balance in the push for greener roads. When scaled to a greater number of cars, and used by trucks and buses, which incur higher stop-start costs, the potential reduction CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of up to 13% really adds up.
Transport for Greater Manchester‘s Hannah Tune said “Working with TRL and KL Systems on the project focussing on making better use of local authority data funded by the DfT has given TfGM an exciting opportunity to explore how GLOSA could be implemented in a real world environment. It has demonstrated the benefits of being able to do this from a centralised system, without the requirement for costly infrastructure. The basis of the systems open standards along with data that is availability openly has demonstrated, how this approach can provide really successful outcomes as we move towards a more connected digitally focussed transport network.”
Research projects like this are enabled through the open platform of TRL Software’s UTC. Implementing an open environment for data is part of our vision for future mobility and built into our UTC. SCOOT enables you to adapt your signals, controlling the flow of traffic whilst our UTC allows open access to the data it creates. To learn more about this, and how you can be involved, get in touch. You can also join our Chief Technologist, Christopher Kettell for our webinar, part 2 of Exploratory Data Analysis and When Things Get Interesting Tuesday 30th March at 12:30pm.