Towards a Low-Cost Traffic Data Collection Alternative Using Gas-Noise Sensing Technology


Traffic Congestion is a dire problem around the world, most especially in developing countries. As the number of vehicles are acquired by individuals each year, it is projected to increase in the years to come spiking traffic problems on the road. There have been efforts to research on sensing technologies to aid in traffic planning and management. While a success for developed countries, developing countries on the other hand are unable to make use of the traditional sensing technologies since most researches are geared towards using sensors for developed countries. With numerous data available for developed countries they are already one step ahead in creating smarter solutions for traffic using ICT strategies. This research will now discuss about methods that can be made use to cost effectively determine reliable traffic data sources fit to aid developing countries.

Keywords: remote sensing, congestion dynamics

Research Description

This chapter presents an overview of the current state of technology on collecting vehicular traffic data. The researchers will discuss the various techniques that are currently used on other studies and how significant the research of finding a low-cost methodology is to aid in traffic data collection in a developing country.

Overview of the Current State of Technology

Traffic congestion is a recurring problem in the Philippines, especially in central business districts and metropolitan areas like Metro Manila, brought about by daily urban migration from the provinces, urban growth and infrastructural constraints (citation not found: Matthew_2014). Unpredictable commute times, environmental pollution and fuel waste are just some of the negative effects that traffic congestion mainly creates which results to losses in resources such as time and money. These remain to be a problem in developing cities and countries due to poor road network planning and traffic management (citation not found: Jain_2012). Presently, there are many different techniques in detecting traffic density such as RF-Id tags, Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), Vehicular Ad-hoc Networks (VANET), Infrared System, Bluetooth, Zigbe, Multi-Agent Systems, Cameras, GPS and the use of mobile signals including 2G, 3G and LBS Systems (citation not found: Matthew_2014).

However, with numerous sensors, telemetry and telematics devices and other on-line traffic and mobility data collection tools utilized for monitoring traffic (citation not found: Lopes_2010), most of them are more usable in developed countries. According to a study of road traffic conducted in India (citation not found: Sen_2013), developing countries and developed countries have roads with different characteristics such as high heterogeneity of vehicles and traffic roads without lanes or road markings. These roads are packed with the same heterogeneous vehicles altogether to utilize the available road space. This makes it impossible for traditional sensors to be efficiently useful without careful modification and correct sensor placement (citation not found: Sen_2013).

The Philippines currently has Metro Traffic Live! application for mobile phones that is a part of the web application, Metro Manila Traffic Navigator (TNAV) . Additionally, the MMDA Traffic Mirror, which is a real-time and online video feed of the current road situation, is the latest CCTV monitoring technology collaborated with, the online news portal of TV5 to allow motorists to monitor on the road traffic virtually.However, the video stream are not as reliable when the 100 HD cameras installed are not working properly. On the other hand, the development of the application, Metro Traffic Live! and TNAV, made a significant impact on informing the motorists the latest traffic status along the major roads, and thus would be the best platform to build through for improving the ICT in transportation management by collecting additional traffic data that is reliable and low cost at the same time.

In order to do this, the researchers explored references that compares the differences in terms of advantage and disadvantages of existing and newly studied sensors such as acoustic, gas technology and laser sensing in accounting for road traffic density to prove a low cost mean to produce real-time, reliable data.

Many techniques and resources are presented in the statements above to collectively gain data on traffic for traffic management purposes. Among the potential solutions that are presented, not all are applicable to a current developing countries such as the Philippines. This study will find a low cost but reliable real-time traffic data collection that can be used additionally aid the data collection source of existing systems that the government has initiated already and for other future purposes.

Research Objectives

General Objective

To produce a low-cost alternative in collecting traffic data to approximate the density of traffic in a road segment.

Specific Objectives

In order to achieve the general objective of this research, the following specific objectives must be met.

  1. To find and utilize a low cost but reliable sensor fit to detect traffic density.

  2. To practice data cleaning techniques on sensor outputs.

  3. To determine a method/s to check the accuracy and reliability of the resulting collected traffic data.

  4. To use available techniques/tools in order to determine the best location to place the sensors.

  5. To analyze how a network of sensors can generate reliable traffic data for road segment reports.

Scope and Limitations of the Research

  1. Limitations of the sensors in terms of range and susceptibility to environment.

  2. The researchers will use a data cleaning techniques fit for the sensor technology to be used with as minimal errors as possible.

  3. Comparative tools to check against the data collected from the sensors are limited to Waze, Google Live Traffic and the likes.

  4. The researchers are limited to a number of sensors in a certain road segment.

  5. Overall road traffic analysis is limited to certain road segments.

The study’s scope does not concern itself with other road activities such as pedestrians, weather disasters and/or other events in great focus.

Significance of the Research

Since the country is a developing society, the need for a low cost but reliable data collecting technique should be made available to continually progress the ICT trends in traffic management and monitoring. Finding a solution to address this matter without disrupting the existing day-to-day activities of the motorists must be made available through utilizing the current resources that are around the area/subject of concern.

This study will be able to contribute in strengthening the existing projects that the government has currently initiated. If the government can no longer expedite larger funds to support data collection on traffic, this study can be an alternative for cost effective researches in the future. At the same time, data collected can be used for a wider range of purposes such as in the advancement of smarter cities in the country.

The study will be useful for future researchers in Computer Science who would be interested in the branch of Traffic Management Engineering that consists the need for a broader knowledge in terms of expert systems, applications and network implementations.