Mainstreaming CONDUITS-DST in traffic management decision making in Brussels
Brussels was a partner in the FP7 CONDUITS project which saw the definition of a KPI framework for assessing the performance of traffic management measures and ITS applications against the range of transport policy objectives.
Brussels was heavily involved in the first phase of CONDUITS-DST as a case study for the pollution KPI prediction tool which was built by Technion with support from TUM and City University London.
Brussels will continue to play an active role in next phase of CONDUITS-DST which will see the extension of the prediction tool to traffic efficiency and road safety.
Why, you may ask.
Well, Brussels believes there is a strong need for tools to aid decision making on ITS applications and traffic management. When presenting new ITS applications to decision makers, it is often difficult to quantify the benefits of these new systems. It may be reasonably easy to explain how these new systems will help to resolve a particular problem; however, it is far more difficult to evaluate the hoped-for gains and even more difficult to compare the effects of the different ITS technologies which may be used to address the same problem.
The Brussels Capital Region has now decided systematically to use the CONDUITS approach in making decisions on new ITS traffic management deployments and the selection of modelling scenarios. It already uses VISSIM microscopic simulation software for modelling traffic flows. It is currently installing, in its Brussels Strategy Department and Mobility Centre array, two additional software programs: VISUM (for traffic analysis and forecasts); and also OPTIMA (for accurately predicting road congestion).
A later step will be to introduce a CONDUITS-DST integrated tool (comprising the KPIs of pollution reduction, traffic reliability and possibly road safety) into all three programmes in an integrated manner, rather than separately in each case. All will then work together in a closely coordinated way.
The first applications that Brussels is considering are:
VISSIM: to use CONDUITS-DST for individual modelling scenarios to allow the final decision maker to take a decision in the light of the predicted effects on traffic, pollution, safety (and, later. land use).
VISUM: whenever a major street is being redesigned, the effect on cyclists will be investigated. If this is likely to be negative, the scenario will be rejected.
OPTIMA: when the region has to decide on the planning of alternative routes, following eg tunnel closures, road works or major incidents, the system will indicate the best alternative in the light of the relevant CONDUITS KPIs. If, for example, the region is experiencing a pollution peak, the pollution KPI will be the main factor taken into account. The initial phase will cover routine planned tunnel closures.
The need for decision support tools is gaining ground in Europe at all levels of government. CONDUITS-DST is a very useful tool for Brussels. What is more, it is free of charge! Cities and regions are encouraged to try it!