System & Products: Creative solutions

Development in Business

The TOR concept.

 

 

 

Executive summary.

 

We are a spin-off company from a large Swedish electronic defence company, SaabTech Systems in the Saab-group, and have worked through a research phase on a spin-off product from our military real-time management systems (Command, Control, Communication and Information Systems).

 

The product is a revolutionary new Traffic Management System, TMS. We call it TOR. The unique patented TOR-concept is built on a new understanding of modern traffic congestion problems, and the system solution includes actions on traffic, creating dramatic positive effects: Queues are disappearing, and there is a substantial reduction in travel time costs. Typically an investment by traffic authorities in TOR will pay back within 1 to 2 years. 

 

There is a large need for the product in and around all major cities all over the world. Traffic is a major problem, since long recognised by the governments, and there is a global political interest in investments in modern IT-solutions for traffic management. The international ITS-organisations in America, Europe, Asia and Australia prognose an enormous market for TMS.

 

We realise that the TMS-business is international and that the major needs and interest are outside the sparsely populated country of Sweden with its relatively small traffic problems.

 

We have also developed a Demonstrator of the TMS in a portable PC. The Demonstrator simplifies the understanding of the TOR concept, creating an almost intuitively understanding of the operation and the resulting large benefits in traffic. (This demonstration cannot be substituted by text on papers. Unfortunately the complexity of traffic and the corresponding advanced technology of the system solution make understanding by reading documents a nontrivial task also for graduate technical people).

 

Some comments for further consideration:

There is a large international need for the solution.

The cause of traffic congestion.

Advanced system approach is a basis for the solution.

Major TOR concepts.

The interaction with the driver

The Demonstrator.

 

 

 

There is a large international interest for the solution.

All major cities and their surroundings, all over the world need traffic solutions. The solutions should solve both the urban (street management) and interurban (motorway management) type of problems.

The TOR-concept has two integrateable parts: One for urban and one for interurban. Our demonstrator in fact, has two scenarios, one for each of those main applications. We have made this separation just because there traditionally often are different organisations and responsibilities for urban and interurban roads and traffic.

In the city area the main traffic streams are running through both the motorways and the large street arterials. Thus in solving congestion problems, there have to be real solutions for the combined motorway and street network, i e not imaginary ones only moving the problems back and forth between motorways and the access road network. Therefore we have applied a top-down view on traffic, giving efficient solutions on congestion problems, - for interurban and urban networks and their combinations.

 

 

The cause of traffic congestion.

Present traffic systems are very sensitive to traffic disturbances, and when traffic peaks overload the road network capacity, the efficiency of the road network breaks down easily. In this respect the traffic system is not different from any other physical system, which looses its efficiency when overloaded. That means that the obtainable road network capacity is at lowest level during rush hours, when the high capacity level is needed most.

Traffic light signal systems don’t handle this congestion problem. That is why traffic congestion has been that large growing problem.

 

There are two main characteristics of traffic: “The Network basis” and “The real time basis”. Those characteristics make Traffic very complex and they necessitate very advanced management systems for traffic operations. TOR is the only system that handles those two basic traffic characteristics properly.

 

 

Advanced system approach is a basis for the solution.

Our approach is a system-company approach of solving complex problems, and the created solution, TOR, is a genuine system solution.

Traditionally, traffic has been controlled by intersection light signals. The perspective has generally been “pointlike”, studying traffic at critical points, intersections etc.. We have introduced a different perspective, applied a system approach, using system methodology.

* We identify and consider the two main traffic characteristics:

             a. Traffic has network characteristics.

             b. Traffic is dynamic and requires real-time operation

* We analyse the traffic problem area:

c. Congestion is the main traffic problem.

* We comprehend the fundamentals:

d. Traffic on a road network constitutes a traffic system, with system characteristics.

e. In general any overloaded system breaks down to a less efficient operating state.

f. Traffic systems are not different in this respect. By overloading, traffic systems collapse and congestion develops.

g. Traffic congestion can easily spread over the network and cause very large reductions in traffic system performance.

* We conclude:

h. Any traffic control system needs to handle each of the traffic characteristics in a proper way to be able to produce positive effects in traffic.

 

 

By comparing our system approach with known traffic control systems on the market and known research concepts and ideas, we conclude the following:

We haven’t seen any other system, handling the network characteristics in a proper way.

We haven’t seen any other system, handling the real-time requirements in a proper way.

We haven’t seen any other system, handling the congestion problem in a proper way.

Then those other systems, including those already in operation, wouldn’t have the ability to solve the major traffic problem.

* TOR is not another traffic light signal system. Instead TOR is built on top of the currently used light signal systems.

* TOR is focusing on the major problem, congestion, and constitutes a system solution, based on the fundamental traffic characteristics.

 

 

 

 

Major TOR concepts and modules.

The overall system:

TOR.  System solution (traffic operation and benefits).

TORD. System design.

 

System Key-modules:

TORP. Real-time Traffic Model.

TORI. Automatic Incident Detection.

TORM. Motorway Control System

TORN. Network Control System

TORR. Traffic Routing Control

 

Each key-module is patented

 

 

 

The interaction with the driver

Cars can only change speed and direction.

In a basic set-up:

TOR is using the traffic lights for stop and go.

TOR is using VMS (Variable message signs) for informing about direction.

 

In a developed stage TOR also uses:

VMS for added features

Car navigation equipment for direction information and added features

 

The kernel of TOR however is the traffic management algorithms:

The kernel of TOR is the advanced system algorithms giving the control means their right message at the right time.

The key advanced system algorithms are patented

 

 

The Demonstrator.

We have learnt that our concept is that new and innovative that we need to have a demonstrator to give people an easy way of understanding our system concept. Then the principal ideas and the remarkable large positive effects on traffic can be understood almost intuitively.

The Demonstrator is also a base for further studies on specific test-site networks. Before implementing the system in reality, the system operation can be analysed on a model of the test-site with real measured traffic as input. Then the operation and traffic benefits of the TOR system can be displayed in the same illustrative way as the Demonstrator works with the general scenario to day.