10 August 2022

Around the World with Yunex Traffic: Colombia

SSI Bogotá – a new era for traffic management in one of the most complex cities of America

Bogotá is one of the most representative cities in Latin America when it comes to mobility infrastructure. It is inhabited by nearly eight million people who use the road infrastructure to get to work, study or do activities in the big, colorful capital of Colombia. Citizens mainly use public transportation, cars, bicycles or walk. These four modes of transportation account for more than 80% of the 15 million daily trips in the city.

Over time, the capital has sought mobility solutions that provide a better quality of life for all citizens of Bogotá that reduce the time spent traveling by public transport, improve traffic flow at different times and places so that citizens can spend more time with their families, and make pedestrians and bicyclists feel safer on streets, avenues, and bike paths.

Bogotá’s traffic is undoubtedly one of the main issues for the local government. Four years ago, a process of change began, opening possibilities for improving mobility conditions in the district. A challenge that, despite the adverse conditions of the Covid-19 pandemic, we as Yunex Traffic managed to achieve. This is how one of the city's most ambitious technology projects started.

The modernization of the Intelligent Traffic Light System of Bogotá

This project was developed in phases, carried out over a period of 37 months, and received by the customer in 2021.

The project started with a first phase of analysis of traffic conditions, which made it possible to identify the critical points, the areas of greatest traffic congestion in the city and the key places for the introduction of dynamic traffic regulation. After the analysis of these conditions, the next phase involved the design and  planning of the changes to be implemented, particularly in terms of red and green time intervals at traffic signals, the selection of different zones and corridors with prioritization according to traffic conditions, and the modeling of the alternatives considered for representative signalized intersections grouped into specific zones and points to validate that the change would indeed lead to improvements in mobility conditions.

These changes in traffic light phases have made it possible to make keep traffic flowing, depending on the vehicles and time when citizens of Bogotá are traveling. The process will continue with field validation to ensure that mobility conditions evolve as expected.

In parallel, new signalized intersections were designed, planned, and built. Pedestrian or bicycle crossings were added to existing intersections. .

Pedestrian traffic lights with countdown timers, push buttons, and signals for the visually impaired were installed to help pedestrians, bicyclists, and people with disabilities travel more safely. An inclusive pedestrian traffic light with a female character named "Prudencia" was also created.

In addition, a powerful network of 1,912 video detectors has been set up to measure mobility conditions in Bogotá, enabling citizens to shorten their travel times and reduce the number of stops and waiting times at red lights.

We have replaced the entire traffic controller network, which now has the latest technology: intelligent, robust, and safe devices, some of which are equipped with batteries to increase the availability of the lights. This gives Bogotá a powerful, state-of-the-art tool that opens a wide range of possibilities for further managing and optimizing the traffic control network.

Finally, the Traffic Management Center is the brain that is managing Bogotá's nervous and circulatory systems. From this center, decisions to improve traffic flow are monitored, analyzed, planned, and made. Citizens cannot see these decisions, but they can benefit from the time they gain through better traffic conditions. Behind this operation, there is a large team of more than 200 employees who work 24/7 to ensure that the system is operated and the intersections are set up with the maximum safety and efficiency.

Testimonials

We have modernized the three control centers that existed in the city and managed the old traffic light system through telephone cables. Today, with the implementation of the intelligent traffic light system, we have three centers concentrated in one location. The city has upgraded its communications system and protocol from a proprietary protocol that communicated over phone wire to an open OCIT protocol system that communicates over fiber optic cables, which allows us to expand the scope and amount of information, monitoring and timely response to the problems and congestion the city experiences on a day-to-day basis.

Juan Carlos Montenegro Arjona | Technical Project Manager

This control center is the result of the development of our technology, which not only makes decisions, but also gives the city a powerful tool for analyzing mobility and defining indicators and public policies that allow continuous improvement of the system. Bogotá now has a powerful system at the level of the most important cities in the world to improve the living conditions of all of us.

Fabián Fuentes | Traffic Control Center Expert