Melbourne’s CBD is set to become a living data laboratory as Melbourne University and other key stakeholders develop a connected transport project in one of the city’s most congested areas.
Analysing data from trams, buses, cars, motorcycles and bicycles using thousands of sensors fitted to roads in a 1.2km2 test area, Hoddle Street, Victoria Street, Alaxandra Parade and Lygon Street will help the project construct viable solutions for future transport.
Melbourne University will collaborate with VicRoads, Public Transport Victoria, City of Melbourne, City of Yarra, with traffic updates from global mapping giant HERE Maps to provide information on traffic planning, pedestrian flows, public transport efficiency and freight movements.
Despite being Australia’s most livable city, congestion on Melbourne roads and the strain on public transport is increasing as Australia declares record vehicle sales up 2 percent in 2016 and the worst national road toll since 2009.
Project leader Majid Sarvi, Professor in Transport for Smart Cities, believes connecting clever sensors with our smartphones will enlighten Melbourne’s road network.
“Intelligent transport systems will analyse the data and deliver insights into traffic planning, pedstrian flows, public transport efficiency and freight movements,” he said.
“The research tells us that connected transport could in time reduce the economic impact of road crashes by 90 percent, not to mention the human impact.”
In total, the project will include 7km of roadways, including laneways, major intersections, freight routes and residential streets.
Dean of Melbourne School of Engineering, Professor Iven Mareels, said the ambitious project would open up potential for autonomous vehicles and is attracting industry leaders because of the strong research scope and large scale.
“The whole world is talking about driverless vehicles and climate change, energy conservation and reducing pollution… these are issues faced not just by Melbourne as it seeks to retain the quality of life that has made it the world’s most livable city for many years,” he said.
“Success will mean safer cities, cleaner cities, happier cities… The Victorian government’s commitment to open data and leveraging this to benefit the community ensure the central role of VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria in bringing about tangible improvements to the Melbourne quality of life for many decades to come.”
In April 2016, the Victorian Government invested $60 million to install continuous flow intersections at four locations. Continuous flow intersections encourage drivers to begin their turning sequence about 20 metres before, allowing traffic to move more freely without having to stop for vehicles turning in the middle of the intersection, an action that will not be permitted in future.
The first intersection is due for installation in mid-2017 at the Hoddle/Swan Street intersection beside Richmond station.