21 September 2022

Sustainability at Yunex Traffic: FUSION

How can the next generation of traffic management systems reduce traffic emissions?

There are many examples of ITS technology having a positive impact for road users, transport operators and maintenance practices. However, they also deliver wider societal, health and wellbeing benefits for the people who visit, live, work and study in our towns and cities.

From pedestrian crossings to clean air zones, ITS technology continues to help transport authorities make their road networks and vehicle fleets more intelligent, efficient, and safer. And not only does the latest digital technology play a key role in addressing and minimising the impact of vehicle emissions on our roads, it can also reduce the environmental impact of the necessary roadside infrastructure itself.

Arguably one of the most impactful ITS developments has been the Urban Traffic Control (UTC) system, which sits at the core of many Local and Road Authority traffic management operations. UTC has evolved to keep pace with the ever-increasing number of demands and congestion on our road networks.

While existing solutions, such as the well-established SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique), have undoubtedly proven effective over the last few decades, the UTC evolution continues. The next generation of systems must help the efficient progress of cars through the network, but also take account of an ever-broader range of parameters, priorities and controls, including emissions.

The sophistication and degree of intelligence that future UTC systems need is rapidly expanding, for example, UTC must manage air quality, active travel, connected vehicles and emergency vehicle prioritisation.

Working in close partnership with Transport for London (TfL), Yunex Traffic is evolving its UTC solution and developing FUSION, the next generation adaptive control solution. The new system is not tied to any specific UTC system, is highly modular and designed to be configurable according to the specific infrastructure installed.

FUSION will provide a new way of managing roads across the city; enabling traffic decisions to be policy-driven. Ultimately FUSION will replace the SCOOT system that has been keeping major cities around the world moving for decades.

FUSION can do this because it draws on data sources from a variety of sources and transport modes. With flexible, policy-driven techniques, FUSION improves on the SCOOT solution (which sought to minimise vehicle delay and stops), by optimising signalised junctions and pedestrian crossings based on all road users’ needs and the authority’s traffic policy priorities.

To do this, FUSION is founded on well-established design and traffic engineering principles to deliver its operational improvements. Importantly though, it also evaluates targeted changes to meet the policy goals, rather than just focusing on the density of vehicles on the road network. This marks a step change in approach and provides operators and traffic managers with much greater control and flexibility, particularly in cities with a diverse population of multi-modal road users.

Providing a holistic view of the road network

Where SCOOT models each individual node or link to collectively determine its optimisation plans, FUSION adopts a region-wide view to provide a more holistic picture of traffic conditions and the predicted impact of any actions. The system uses sophisticated modelling and forecasting procedures, by fusing data from on street detectors and forecast traffic patterns to help improve traffic signal optimisation.

Trial sites in London report significant improvements

FUSION is being trialled at eleven living laboratory sites across London, which enable detailed analysis and fine tuning of the system to take place. Initial results have been extremely encouraging. Recent results from Wandsworth, which covers two, closely located junctions, have shown that FUSION delivered significant improvements over SCOOT.

The trials were based on running the current SCOOT traffic control system for 45 days and then FUSION for the same period to enable their performance to be directly compared. The results showed that when FUSION was deployed, it reduced delays by more than 13% and stops by 10%. The impact on congestion was particularly significant, with FUSION reducing congestion by between 20% and 60% compared to SCOOT over the 45 day period.

Building on our long history of developing ITS technology, FUSION embraces new approaches and new technology to prepare Urban Traffic Control for the changes to road users and their behaviours that we can expect in the coming years. FUSION enables all modes of transport to be modelled and optimised in a way that responds to the changing challenges facing our towns and cities such as cleaning up toxic air, making walking and cycling easier and safer and delivering a reliable, sustainable, and more attractive public transport system.