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Amsterdam study takes beating traffic jams to the next level

12 Dec 2017

ERC-funded researcher discovers a new way to forecast your journey time in a busy city

Many mobile and online applications can help us avoid traffic jams on a busy day. But  Ludovic Leclercq and his research team think they have developed a new way to analyse – and beat – traffic congestion.

Leclercq, a European Research Council grantee at the French Institute of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR) in Lyon,  investigated the day-to-day regularity of urban traffic using advanced clustering methods, and  found a previously hidden picture of traffic dynamics at the whole city scale.

Studying traffic in Amsterdam, the team summarised all the available data at road level and converted it into a single spatial and temporal map of the traffic. This enabled them to identify those zones in the city where traffic moved with similar speeds.

They found that traffic in the city is more regular and predictable than expected, which led them to develop a new real-time method of analysing traffic. By looking at the city level of traffic patterns, rather than local street levels only,  this new method can now help us better predict future journey times, with a success rate of 84 per cent.

The latest scientific publication resulting from the team’s work was published in the scientific journal “Nature”. His research is supported by a European Research Council consolidator grant for the project entitled “A Multiscale and Multimodal Modelling Approach for Green Urban Traffic Management (MAGnUM)” focussing on dynamic traffic modelling and related environmental externalities. The project was also featured in the ERC=Science2 article “Wanted: The Human City”. 

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