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Intelligent traffic control pilot improves air quality in Munich

40 per cent of drivers opted to take a more eco-friendly alternative route.

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A pilot project by Siemens Mobility successfully cut carbon and nitrogen emissions in congested areas of Munich.

 

35 to 40 per cent of drivers were willing to re-route when they were provided alternative suggestions through ryd.

 

Using real-time sensor data, Hawa Dawa provided pollution forecasts to Siemens Mobility’s Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS) Digital Lab in Munich, where data scientists and traffic management experts analysed the data together with anonymised trip data from ryd (a platform by ThinxNet) to predict individual routes and suggest eco-friendly alternatives.

 

The results found that 35 to 40 per cent of drivers were willing to re-route when they were provided alternative suggestions through ryd.

 

Incentivising change

 

The one-month trial, which launched in November 2018, included 1,600 drivers and delivered savings of 83 kg of CO2 and 114 g of NOx. Drivers also reduced their distance travelled by 633 km overall.

 

Gamification was used to incentivise users to take the alternate routes. The most eco-friendly drivers received ryd points which could later be converted into items such as Amazon vouchers

 

According to Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry, Munich has the second-highest NO2 levels in Germany. Inrix’s Traffic Scorecard consistently finds Munich to be one of the most congested cities in the country, with the average driver spending 51 hours a year sitting in traffic jams.

 

Throughout the European Union, the European Commission estimates healthcare costs due to air pollution to be between €330 to €940 billion per year, with traffic as the largest contributor.

 

If the programme were to be scaled to 20,000 drivers within a city, the savings would be equivalent to planting more than one acre of forested land.

 

If the programme were to be scaled to 20,000 drivers within a city, the savings would be equivalent to planting more than one acre of forested land, according to Siemens Mobility.

 

The pilot demonstrates an alternative approach to city tolling, and could also be combined with public transit to enhance intermodal mobility, Siemens Mobility said.

 

Impact of individual behaviours

 

Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, commented: "By shaping connected mobility, we can not only improve the efficiency of transportation but also its impact on the environment. Our ITS digital labs are at the forefront of data analytics and artificial intelligence in road transportation. We’re proud that we have proven these capabilities can be used to improve Munich’s air quality.”

 

Longer term, the partners plan to pursue opportunities with other cities throughout Europe.

 

Karim Tarraf, CEO, Hawa Dawa, added: “This pilot was able to demonstrate the impact on individual behaviours in a short period of time. This hints at the huge untapped potential in trialling and adapting eco-sensitive routing alongside other smart mobility options within other large conurbations.”

 

Longer term, the partners plan to pursue opportunities with other cities throughout Europe.

 

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