Libelium recently launched its vehicle traffic monitoring platform that enables system integrators to create a real-time system that monitors vehicular and pedestrian traffic in cities and buildings. This new system uses Bluetooth and ZigBee double radio features to link up vehicles and people by Bluetooth devices in a given street, footpath, or roadway. The sensor data is then transferred by a multi-hop ZigBee radio, via an internet gateway, to a server.
These types of traffic monitoring systems offer significant benefits. Reducing road congestion through real-time traffic warnings that will reduce journey times and wasteful emissions. Additionally, these systems could be introduced into other operations, such as, shopping centers, airports, and sports stadiums. The sensor data could be used to assess the suitability of emergency evacuation plans or identify "hot" pedestrian routes for marketing and advertising purposes.
Other companies, such as TraffiCast are also offering traffic monitoring systems for travel time and average road speed information via their BlueToad technology. Again, the systems use media access control (MAC) protocols to detect mobile devices in vehicles such as mobile phones, headsets, and music players via Bluetooth technologies. The sensors are able to detect devices up to 50 meters, which more than covers a six lane roadway.
Smart transportation has been a key agenda in some cities and countries for a while. In Japan, police are mandated by the government to provide traffic information and vehicle information and communication systems (VICS) have been in place since 1996. The traffic data is reported to the Japan Road Traffic Information Center (JARTIC), processed by Japan's VICS Center and broadcasted by radio beacons on expressways, infrared beacons on major city roads and highways, and FM multiplex transmitting via existing FM channels.
It is estimated the world traffic system market was worth almost $1.3 billion in 2011 and the market is projected to increase steadily over the next five years. ABI Research's latest reports on Smart Cities and Traffic Information Systems, provide addition detail.