The crossing between the streets of Gran via de Carles III and Travessera de les Corts, in Barcelona, is one of the most congestioned in the city. Due to the proximity to one of Barcelona’s main touristic centers, el Camp Nou, and the amount of traffic coming from the lower districts and nearby cities through the underground roadway entering and exiting along the avenue, it is usual to see problems in mobility arise in this zone. For this reason the district council demanded a solution to implement the first intelligent crossing, meaning that it could monitor the traffic in the area and change the traffic lights according to the occupancy levels in each lane of the streets.
Not only the crossing wanted to be monitored according to the traffic levels but also, according to the scheduled events that could affect the mobility in some of the streets of the crossing such as football matches, and unpredicted events such as bus stops, vehicle malfunctions or accidents. The installation monitors 10 lanes with different directions, detours and vehicle demands. It not only improved the traffic situation for vehicles, but also for pedestrians, since the crossing affects both vehicle traffic lights and pedestrian.
As the district requested, the solution offered had to include real-time control to adapt rapidly to traffic demands since the crossing had a high variability over the day caused by peak hours, traffic jams and unpredicted events. Thus the monitoring not only had to be precise, but also had to detect changes in traffic behavior right at the time they were occurring and offer an adaptive control system to overcome high and unpredictable occupancy levels in some or all of the lanes.
The deployed solution consisted in 21 wireless magnetic sensors placed along the 10 lanes that wanted to be monitored by the district council. These sensors were transmitting to only one Data Processing Station (DPS) that served as a unique access point for transmitting data to the traffic light control once the data had been processed and analyzed by the station. Other equipment used included 6 repeaters to transmit data from sensors that were more than 150m away from the processing station, 2 powered by solar panels and 4 powered by low consumption batteries during daytime and by lamp posts over night.
An important fact to mention is that the changes in traffic lights and in the traffic light control were deployed in real time and automatically once the DPS had processed and analyzed the different data coming from the 21 sensors, meaning that no interactions or commands had to be planned for the solution to work, reducing idle times during the decision making process.