NTT Data Solving Traffic Congestion and Enabling Smarter Cities Using Big Data Analytics

NTT DATA Corporation has successfully used big data traffic simulation technology to forecast simulated traffic congestion and then develop solutions for more effective control of traffic signals, which was proved to help alleviate traffic congestion and shorten travel times for public buses in a field study conducted in Jilin City, Jilin Province, China. The field study, implemented in collaboration with Jilin City and jilin BRinfo Co.,Ltd, was conducted between November 10 and December 12, 2014.

NTT DATA has been developing big data technologies for traffic control, with a particular focus on large-scale traffic simulation, since 2011. The simulation can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of regulating traffic signal parameters to improve traffic flow while minimizing the chance of inadvertently aggravating congestion. Such parameters include the total time for all signals at an intersection to complete one green-yellow-red sequence (cycle length), the percentage of that cycle allotted to any one signal (split), and the time from when a signal turns green until the signal at the next intersection turns green (offset). In the simulations, various combinations can be tested to identify the best parameters.

The field study was conducted in the center of Jilin, which has been beset with traffic congestion and slow public bus service. Jilin City, which is actively pursuing smart city planning, has implemented various transportation management and control measures that utilize probe data or traffic monitoring cameras. For the simulations, NTT DATA used probe data that was accumulated using terminals equipped in some 200 buses running on eight different routes in the city. It also used statistical information obtained from traffic-volume studies.

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Based on the favorable results, Jilin has continued to use NTT DATA’s solution for signal control at the six intersections. Moving forward, the city aims to expand the number of intersections and accumulate more traffic data via GPS-equipped taxis.

NTT DATA is continuing to examine the results of the field study to develop practical applications for optimized signal control, and to develop probe data-gathering systems that incorporate various sensors and traffic monitors. It also plans to deploy big data technologies for traffic simulation and control in large-scale smart-city projects. In particular, NTT DATA is hoping to apply its know-how toward preparation and management of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, a business that the company expects would generate more than ten billion yen in cumulative revenue by 2020.

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