Monday, October 03, 2005

Urban Traffic Control with GPS Technology: A Fore-vision of Dhaka City

Global Positioning System (GPS) প্রযুক্তি ব্যবহার করে কি উপর থেকে ঢাকা শহরের traffic দেখা যাবে? এর উপর ভিত্তি করে ঢাকা শহরের traffic-এর উপর live commentary সহ কোন FM Radio channel চালু করা যায় কি? বাংলাদেশের জন্য এই প্রযুক্তি কিনতে বা ভাড়া নিতে কত খরচ পড়বে? কোন effective algorithm দ্বারা green time হিসেব করে traffic signaling system-কে আরো বুদ্ধিমান বানানো যায় কি? কোন plug-in, যেমন - Vehicle Identification Module (VIM) ব্যবহার করে এই প্রযুক্তি থেকে বিভিন্ন সুবিধা আদায় করা যায় কি? এই Blog-এ এসব প্রশ্নের কোন উত্তর নেই, বরং আরো তথ্যের সাথে এই প্রশ্নগুলো উত্থাপন করা হয়েছে.

The Global Positioning System: What Can it Do?


I am not an expert about the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology or know to what extent it can help us. But I am sure; it has many promising features that should be utilized to the fullest extant. Therefore, all I have is a lot of questions regarding my ideas, with answers to be sought from anyone who has some. So if any one has any information about this topic, please feel free to share it with me.

We saw what the Global Positioning System (GPS) technology did to Iraq. Pinpointing each object from the satellite and crushing it by bombing. It is undoubtedly a very powerful tool. But, a powerful element like fire can kill people; again it can make our livelihood. Can the same technology be utilized to control traffic in Dhaka city? Would it be so costly to implement it? The same technology has been used for several facilities in Europe (Galileo Positioning System) and Russia (Glonass), not to mention the USA. Why not in Bangladesh, in the very Dhaka city, where the need for urban traffic control is very intense.

Traffic Situation in Dhaka City


This is not a fiction, but a statement of my dreams and aspirations that I desperately visualize everyday when I swarm through the problematic traffic of the Dhaka city. The word problematic can’t define the actual condition. If you share the same experience with me, then you might realize what I mean. Creating laws and defining VIP roads each day is not solving any problem for us. The best thing is not to disturb the Father Nature (the nature we have created for our sake); but bring harmony in it. Can we use this GPS technology to tune into this harmony?

It is quite an alarming fact that, a small country like Bangladesh has major portion of one of the largest primary-language-populations (Bangla) in the world that is competing with the English-language-population. With a population of more than 10 million, the capital city Dhaka has become mega city quite a few years ago and for the search for jobs, people from all corners of Bangladesh are gathering in this crowded city to make their livelihood. Now Dhaka alone has more population than the country Nepal alone. Within 2010, the population of Dhaka would rich 20 million. I don’t know what the city would be called then. Double or Bi-Mega city? Or a Giga City?

Thanks God, not all are affluent enough to buy a car. But, the growing number of transport services for the middle classes day by day is creating problems for Dhaka. The actual supply for the transportation service is also low according to the ever growing demand. If we try to neutralize our current demand, the current alarming situation may upgrade into a nightmare. Therefore, a vicious cycle of problems grows as we pass through time.

Can GPS Technology Track Moving Vehicles?


I know that the GPS technology can pinpoint any object in the earth from the satellite; can it also be used to see moving vehicles on the ground? If it is possible, then through a GPS enabled viewing system, can we have an overhead view of the traffic of Dhaka city?

Dhaka-centric FM-Radio-Channel for Traffic Commentary


Can a Dhaka-centric FM-Radio-Channel transmitting live commentary of the Dhaka traffic be established on the basis of the visual display of the traffic? If the FM Radio Channel is established, then it will be heard by the road riders of the Dhaka city; a very narrow media for specific type of customers. Manufactures or dealers of products such as: auto parts, lubricants, auto accessories, automotive addins, etc. can find the most effective media for advertisement. The fact is that, the radio is included with almost every vehicle; but it is now-a-days the most neglected instrument installed in a vehicle. By this effort, the radio can get its honor back.

Sponsors to Establish the GPS Traffic System


We will get sponsors for running the FM Radio Channel; but what about sponsors for establishing the system. Several companies offering the GPS Enabled Traffic Control Solution may want to crash test their system in a complex mega city. And Dhaka is one of the rare ones in the world. After the successful implementation and testing, they can take nominal fees from the government or some other sources. Their experience in Dhaka will help them for promoting their system. I don’t know if any company will think that way. But, we can easily find donor agencies like USAID, CIDA, JICA, DFID etc. who can fund the program and ensure payment of the traffic solution providers. The funding agencies are always ready when we want to bring their technology at our home and that’s why foreign businesses pay good amount of tax to their government.

The live commentary in the FM radio channel will not be of any help, if the roads of Dhaka city are not interlinked with many alternative routes. Mohakhali, Jatrabari, Gabtoli, and Shadar Ghat are considered the gateway of Dhaka city, which are connected with highways out of the city. For smooth operation, other parallel and alternative highways should be created. The objective should be to reduce the monopoly of a route and democratize every route in Dhaka city.

The Cost of GPS Traffic System for Urban Traffic Control


While searching for GPS Technology, my eyes caught the page about it in Wikipedia, where it says that, the GPS is free for all (I guess the writer meant it for the USA). To utilize the GPS technology, you have to have a GPS receiver, which costs only $90 (Less than BDT 5500). However, these accessories are built for individual facilities. But, how much cost would it incur to establish a mainframe system for controlling the traffic of Dhaka city? Let’s assume that the GPS technology is not free for Bangladesh. Would it be possible for Bangladesh to buy or rent some space or time in the GPS satellite? Then what is the current cost of hiring the GPS satellite bandwidth (or what they may call it) for 15 hours a day (Starting from 7:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night) for an area as big as the Dhaka city?

Forget the FM radio channel. If we concentrate on the existing GPS receivers, can it be used by the Metropolitan Police to give traffic instruction to the ground police placed at the location? Can it be used by the Transportation Ministry, City Corporation or some other allied concerns that conducts traffic research? At least, it will reduce the manual traffic counting that was done through local surveyors placed on each corner of a road.

Effective Algorithm for Calculating Green Time


I am guessing that the system is well running and the service providers are logged in. But, can the GPS system be taught to automatically and exactly count the number of individual vehicles and calculate the amount of people traveling or waiting for a traffic signal?

If it is possible, then the system can be used to control the traffic signals through effective algorithms. By algorithms, I mean a combination of the calculation of various particulars or points of a road, for instance, the number of vehicles, number of passengers waiting for traffic (a big bus will get one vehicle point, but a large passenger point), the width or capacity of the road (fully loaded road should be cleared early), priority points (VIP or ordinary road weighting points), etc. All these will be calculated in the best algorithm that will be most effective and make the road with the best points clear for plying on the basis of calculated optimum amount of green time. That way, a VIP road may become less important, when the problems in an adjacent non-VIP road are immense. But the VIP roads don’t need to worry, because they will have their priority points. If this is possible, than it can reduce the need for traffic police, since the signaling system is more intelligent. But punishing the misdeed for breaking the traffic law will still remain a problem.

UK has an intelligent urban traffic controlling system, called SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset & Optimization Technique). This is also an intelligent traffic signal timings controller. It can monitor traffic signal faults. It also can provide “Green Wave” route for emergency vehicles (like ambulances) and control facilities for car parking. However, the basic technology used for this, is ground-based and monitoring sensors are placed limited amount of corners, which is called Junctions. These sensors in the junctions transmit sufficient information to a central mainframe control center, where both electronic and human intelligent are implied for controlling the traffic of UK. This integrated system is one of the most advanced traffic control systems in Europe. Being ground-based, this system might require heavy cost. But, would it cost higher to have an intelligent traffic controlling system that can monitor from the sky? What about mixing them both? The sky view will give only two dimensional view, and the ground-based view will make the view 3D and more intelligent.

Installing it with the traffic signaling system and making it the signaling system more intelligent would be a great problem and be quite costly. But, when we move into such action, one question comes, who will take the responsibility to do all this, the government, city corporation, autonomous body, the metropolitan police or Business organization? In a democratic country, business organizations can run a system and make it sustain for ages. The business organization would be a good option, but when we will use the GPS technology for controlling traffic, we need have some authority power to punish the misdeed. OK, what about thinking about a mix of both, a portion of police offering profitable service through remuneration, not tax.

Vehicle Identification Module (VIM)


Can the GPS technology be used to hunt down a vehicle if it is disrupt the traffic rules? But to do so, each vehicle should be uniquely identified. For identifying a vehicle, can a Vehicle Identification Module (VIM) card, like the SIM (Single Identification Module) card used in mobile phones be introduced? An installed VIM card will identify and hunt down every individual vehicle. The VIM card can be further utilized to get more information about a vehicle and traffic research.

With the help of the VIM card, another algorithm can be used here to punish the traffic irregulations by assigning misdeed points. These points can be generated once for single misdeed (e.g. overlooking traffic signal) or grow according to the period of conducted misdeed (blocking the road for 1 or 10 minutes) and finally accumulate points in the vehicle owner’s punishment point account. At each level of earned points, the government should have clear standards & legislation for punishment.

But who would want to install such a thing if it used only to hunt them down when they are doing wrong? The pressing urge of the government to implement any change always had drawbacks and most of the time it didn’t sustain. However, win-win situations tend to sustain in the long run. It is obvious that the VIM card can bring win situation for the government. But they should implement every innovative and effective strategy to make the VIM card useful for the vehicle riders. For instance, the VIM card can help the driver to warn if he is breaking the traffic rules. The warning can be broad, for instance, a red warning signal (once or as long as he/she is breaking the rules) or very specific by showing the actual cause.

Another useful utilization of the VIM card can make the transportation service hassle-free. If each vehicle was traceable and easily accessible by passengers, then they can see which transport service is nearby? Moreover, the previously mentioned FM Radio channel will become primitive and real-time traffic overview can help the road riders. In case of taxi, a passenger can signal a nearby cab to come near him/her. However, it would be better if any VIM could be accessed by any SIM, with lower cost than usual SIM2SIM charge. For tourists, the VIM card can provide them driving directions. My final question is, can the VIM card be made more intelligent to make robot-driven driver-less vehicles without the risk of accidents from the complex database created by the GPS satellites?

About the Blogger: Asif Anwar

20 comments:

Miraj said...

Hello Asif:

I understand Dhaka already got a traffic radio channel. As reported in media and rezwan's blog. http://rezwanul.blogspot.com/2005/05/first-ever-traffic-radio-channel-in.html

Some of the ongoing transport/traffic projects are being administered by DHaka Transport Coordination Board. The Electronic Traffic Signalling System project is where the traffic channel being established. I believe for now it may be possible to map vehicle congestion and flow pattern by triangulating active mobile phones in-side the vehicles. GPS could be incorporated later into the system.

miraj

Fugstar said...

we need to discriminate between gPs and gIs. GPS is just about finding out where you are give or take a an error on the scale of metres(

Geographic Information Systems are spatial databases that let you play about with layers, time and space.

this site represents river data over the whole of bangladesh.

http://www.ffwc.gov.bd/

Google earth is an interesting project too, check it out, its extremely bandwidth consuming though.

Im not sure how useful GIS would be, only net connected banani et al types have access, so public funds arent really appropriate.

im sure some uni student could knock up a useful commercial application if they take the initiative. partner with one of those homo mobile providers, and provide traffic digests.

traffic management
shouldnt we invest more in nurturing good habits, researching flows and modelling them before implementing a big brother netwrk of sensors that would just be used by interested parties against the dignity of people.

anyway, if your thinking about it... http://www.cegisbd.com/ these folks probably can help you further.

Net Pathik said...

Dear Net Padestrains

During this ramadan, I used a CNG Vehicle (Small Taxi) to Go from Dhanmondi to Banani in Dhaka. In the Vehicle, I saw a notification by the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, warning the passengers to remember the Vehicle License Number for security reason. That is a good step. However, I also saw a line at the end of the warning suggesting people to listen to the traffic situation in an FM-band Radio Channel controlled by Dhaka Metropolitan Police. That's even better step.

I greatly appriciate this progress. But, I would hate to see this step not bring any result, just because of inefficient control.

Salam Dhaka said...

This is really cool stuff. It is good to see you writing about Dhaka's traffic situation. I think we need a solution to this problem as our road population is just going to keep going up.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
vehicle recovery said...

Millennium Plus operates using an innovative hybrid of technologies, including GPS satellites and patented microburst cell technology. Each time you communicate with the transceiver in the vehicle, there is a two way flow of information.

* When accessing Millennium Plus via the Internet using any standard browser, you send out a signal. That signal then travels to the cell phone tower nearest your current location.

* Microburst technology operates on existing cellular networks to send and receive data packets, tapping into unused channels on the back side of standard cell frequencies.

* The GPS satellites then locate and communicate with the Millennium Plus transceiver on board your vehicle, which exchanges information on location and speed, as well as executing any commands you've sent.

* The cell towers then relay the signal back to you via the exact means by which it was sent.

gps systems,google gps,
car gps,gps navigation system,handheld gps,
gps reviews,gps maps,gps navigation,cell phone gps,gps tracking,gps software,gps units,bluetooth gps,

Calvin said...

Hi, here is some basic info on how GPS works. It's common misconception that GPS devices contact a satellite, or that satellites otherwise know about GPS devices. In fact it works the other way. There are several satellites in low earth orbit which constantly transmit special signals. A GPS is programmed to decode three of these signals (on all places on earth at least three of these signals are "visible") and based on that information compute your position on earth. The communication runs only from the satellite to earth, and it is a non-directed broadcast. This is why, apart from purchasing your actual GPS unit, it is a free service. You can think of it as, the satellites are "landmarks" and the GPS is a "telescope" that can see three of them at any time, figure out how far away they are and thereby pinpoint it's location.

vehicle said...

As you may not know, Millennium Plus is a mobile tracking device, stealthily secured inside a vehicle, that enables you to monitor and control many vehicle features. Employing a constellation of satellites, and patented microburst technology - you interface with your vehicle anytime via the Internet, or access reporting and alert functions by email, cell phone, or pager gps systems,google gps,www.gpsglobal1.net,www.gpsglobal1.com,
car gps,gps navigation system,handheld gps,
gps reviews,gps maps,gps navigation,cell phone gps,gps tracking,gps software,gps units,bluetooth gps,

vehicle tracking said...

As you may not know, Millennium Plus is a mobile tracking device, stealthily secured inside a vehicle, that enables you to monitor and control many vehicle features. Employing a constellation of satellites, and patented microburst technology - you interface with your vehicle anytime via the Internet, or access reporting and alert functions by email, cell phone, or pager gps systems,google gps,www.gpsglobal1.net,www.gpsglobal1.com,
car gps,gps navigation system,handheld gps,
gps reviews,gps maps,gps navigation,cell phone gps,gps tracking,gps software,gps units,bluetooth gps,

gps receiver said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tushish said...

Hi,
I think you know GPS+GPRS+GSM based automatic vehicle locking system (AVLS) is now available in Bangladesh. We’re the 1st service providers in Bangladesh. For more
details please visit our web site: www.trackbangla.com or you can call me.

Tushish
Cell: 01817-512247

Shamim said...

Asif, your idea is good. if you want to track moving object then GPS is good choice. you can visit www.shonod.org , after signup you can download free software for mobile by which can travers through mobile. if you have gprs connection you can view your position in map and you coulb be tracked /monitpr from the be site which called trackbuddy. Only the thing you need is a bluethooth GPS device/interenal Mobile GPS such as N95 Nokia and java enable mobile phone. i beleive you will able to find your answer.

bestonline323 said...

The main GPS & Navigation vendors in Australia have been brought together this morning under the umbrella of SUNA and will be providing enhanced, value-added traffic management services to urban areas and advice to purchasers of such well-known GPS systems as TomTom, Navman, Garmin, Mio and Pioneer.

Click to enlarge
Intelematics, a subsidiary of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, has launched its SUNA service, which delivers real-time information about traffic and road conditions to portable navigation systems.

Adam Game, Chief Executive Officer, Intelematics said the SUNA service "provides deep urban arterial coverage rather than just focusing on inter-city freeway links such as services in Europe and will initially cover more than 75 per cent of Australia's urban population".

The system is designed to be purchased fro between $100 to $150 as a value-add on with nay new popular-branded GPS device and provides around-the-clock information on traffic delays and road incidents directly to the driver's GPS system, allowing motorists to avoid congested roads. By collecting raw traffic flow data from a loop sensor network embedded in the road pavement near intersections. Virtually all urban and many regional signalised intersections are networked to central traffic control systems where the data is aggregated.

Cheers,
Ronnie
Increase Web Site Traffic

Su Kha said...

I am also waiting when bangladesh will have GPS.
i have a site about Technology in Bangladesh, please visit my site and give me new ideas
http://gadgetwatcher.blogspot.com/

The Camera Fanatic said...

Great blog.

I own both the Nuvi 660 and the 760, I'm writing this review for people having trouble deciding between the two as the price difference between the two products at the time of this review is about 100 dollars. I'm not going to focus on the feature differences, as that information can be easily obtained from specifications and online reviews. The 660 was a fine product back in 2005-2006, but the new 760 outdoes the 660 in practically everything, but there are some key usability fixes that make the 760 a better buy for the frequent user.

http://tinyurl.com/gnuvi760

1. 760 has much better fonts for street names than the 660. This may seem like a trivial update to some, but the 760's fonts greatly improve visibility. The 660 uses all capitalized text for street names on the map, and the font is incredibly cartoonish and unaligned, something like the scribbling Comic Sans font on the PC. The 760 uses your standard Verdana-like font with street names in capitalized and lowercase letters. The fonts on the 760 are smaller, cleaner and surprisingly much easier to read while driving. The maps end up looking professional, and not some cartoony children's video game.

2. 760 has better rendering in 3D map mode than the 660. In the 660 when you are zoomed in under 3D map mode, the roads close to your car are displayed incredibly large, so large that they run into other roads, making the zoom function essentially kind of useless for dense roads. The 760 does not oversize your roads just because you zoomed in to view smaller roads in detail. This fix is very nice for those who drive in places with dense roadways, like New York City.

3. No antenna on the 760 makes hooking up your Nuvi to the cradle one step easier. On the 660 you need to flip up the antenna before attaching the cradle. For people who park their cars on the street overnight, removing the GPS from the cradle for storage in the console or glove compartment is a must, and it's a lot easier hooking up the 760 to the cradle than the 660. It's hard to aim the 660 to its cradle in the dark as you have to align both the bottom edge and the charge port under the antenna. In the 760, the charge port is directly on the bottom of the unit; you can attach it to the cradle with one hand in the dark easily on the 760.

4. It takes the 660 a good 45 seconds on average (sometimes longer than 2 minutes) after boot up to locate the satellite on a cold start. If you have firmware 2.6 installed on the 760, the satellite acquisition time after boot up is between 10-20 seconds. After the firmware update, my 760 also holds a stronger lock to the satellites than my 660, I can get satellite lock inside my house with the 760, whereas I can't get a lock with my 660 (adjusting the antenna does very little).

5. The ability to set multiple ad hoc viapoints on the 760 means it's a lot easier creating alternate routes (very handy to avoid a specific interstate or a high traffic road). Whereas the 660 gives you just one viapoint.

UPDATE: This GPS is currently on sale at Amazon… now is your chance to buy one, if you haven’t already. You can find the product page here:

http://tinyurl.com/gnuvi760

manglews said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ashifur said...

i think we have to make a rules for buying car & bus.we are not habituate with cecal. if we can use it ricksha will limited.some rode can be one way. we have to creat more road.more fly over will need.we can give the traffic control duty to army.i hope it will help very much.

Gorky Muhu said...

Well, what I can tell is that you can wait till next month to see an attractive alternative to what the author thought of as a solution through GPS technology for understanding more about traffic jams. Just wait and keep yourselves updated through the Group in Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128842758400&ref=mf) called FINDER, Vehicle Tracking System in Bangladesh. This is very much possible in a naive and interesting way. FINDER had been developing interesting products and devices in Bangladesh.

bus rental said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MUKESH GARG said...

GPS is now a days good for every one , some schools in Mumbai are using it like Singapore International School. Parents and school admin can trace child from home . For more information visit here http://sisindia.net/