Municipality of Veenendaal wins ImFlow simulation study
In 2021, SWARCO Mobility Netherlands (formerly Dynniq Mobility) held a unique win campaign: win a free ImFlow simulation study. Road authorities submitted a network of up to five traffic light control installations (TLCs) with a traffic engineering challenge of which, based on a simulation study, they wanted to see how traffic control application ImFlow could add value. Gemeente Veenendaal won the competition. The simulation study provided valuable insights on the added value of a network control.
The network Veenendaal municipality specified consists of one TLC controlling two intersections and three intersections, each with its own TLC. Rondweg-west is one of Veenendaal's two connecting roads to the A12. Some 30,000 motor vehicles per 24-hour period travel between Grote Beer and the A12.
Piet Weiland from SWARCO Mobility Netherlands summarises the motivation for declaring Veenendaal the winner as follows: "Veenendaal's network has several traffic challenges. Despite the large distance between intersections, we can keep platoons of road users together. Moreover, traffic cannot disappear unregulated between the intersections. It is interesting to explore in which way ImFlow can solve this."
Multiple traffic engineering challenges
The network has several traffic flow problems. First, traffic flows are increasing. The intersections are disproportionately congested partly because of this. In the evening rush hour it is busier between Grote Beer from north to south than in the morning rush hour towards the A12. The Rondweg-west/Grote Beer intersection is less than 300 metres from the southern exit of the A12, so there is a chance of backflow onto the A12. In the morning rush hour, the chance of backfire is lower.
"With the simulation study, we want to test whether a type of control other than vehicle-dependent local control has a positive effect on traffic flow and, despite the heavy load, provides more settlement quality in the network. Without increasing road capacity." - Ronald Hartman, Senior advisor Traffic and Transport at Veenendaal municipality.
ImFlow simulation study
"ImFlow is our fully-fledged and certified ITS application," explains Anthonie Renes, SWARCO's Traffic Engineer who carried out the study. "The generic traffic model projects the measured and predicted traffic over time. This calculates the optimal regulation for the network every second, based on the policy to be realised. This provides highly flexible control with the best possible performance. The model is scalable from solitary intersections and corridors to large networks."
This makes it possible to apply and extend ImFlow in any desired situation, making smarter use of the available road capacity and optimising its use. "The model is rich in traffic engineering features and avoids the need for customisation. This makes ImFlow future-proof. Moreover, innovations can be applied quickly and easily," said Anthonie Renes.
To test with which settings ImFlow has the most positive effect on traffic flow within the defined municipal traffic policy, we set up a simulation. We mapped the impact of different configurations and policy choices on traffic safety, flow, accessibility and liveability. Veenendaal municipality thus gained insight into the effects of a scheme, so that policy choices were clearly substantiated.
"SWARCO Mobility Netherlands has done its best, despite the sometimes limited data available, to display a reliable picture of the traffic flow with the current scheme and a network scheme." - as said Ronald Hartman.
For Veenendaal municipality, the study has confirmed that a network arrangement has a positive impact on traffic flow and alleviating gravity points in the network. Nevertheless, additional asphalt is needed at some points in the network to make traffic flow more smoothly.
"I am confident that network control is part of the solution. Complete relief is not possible with network control, because additional infrastructure really needs to be added anyway. I am therefore happy that we won the simulation study and have the results. We will definitely do such a simulation study more often in the future!" - Ronald Hartman
In the coming years, Veenendaal municipality will replace VRIs that have reached the end of their technical lifespan. The TLCs on the 'Rondweg' are high on the replacement schedule. In addition, maintenance on Rondweg-west will be carried out in the near future. Thanks to the simulation study, network control is one of the requirements in this tender process.
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