Traffic simulations could improve environment, fuel economy

Friday, July 27, 2018
Anjie Liu a civil engineering graduate student

Anjie Liu, a civil engineering graduate student, is using simulation software to help traffic controllers decrease vehicle emissions.

Working with her supervisor, civil engineering professor Liping Fu, Liu uses traffic technology and simulation software to accurately estimate the vehicle emissions along a driven route.

Liu relies on technology from traffic solutions company Miovision, which uses video processing to gain information about traffic congestion and flow. Cities are already using Miovision’s technology to optimize traffic routes and reduce congestion.

Traffic simulations can offer precise estimates

By using real traffic data and simulations, Liu’s emissions estimates are precise and take multiple factors into account. “Emissions are very related to traffic data,” she explains. “You could measure emissions on a wider scale, basing your estimate solely on the distance a vehicle travels. But we’re using a more precise method that takes other factors into account, like braking, idling and accelerating.”

In her traffic simulations, Liu re-enacts what happens with vehicles at an intersection. The results are compared to real-world data from Miovision’s technology. “The traffic simulation is validated by data from Miovision, and tells us that we are on the right track,” says Liu. Then she runs a second simulation to estimate the emissions that would occur with those traffic events.