Use of GIS in transportation management

Use of GIS in transportation management


Siddeswar Prasad HR
Siddeswar Prasad HR
GIS Programmer, Induscorp India PVT Ltd – Bangalore
26 and 27,6th Main Road,MICO Layout, BTM-II Stage,Bangalore-560076
Ph No. 080-6789391/6789395, Email : [email protected]

The burgeoning number of vehicles in the Country , especially in an Urban setting which are choking the cities in India is the main concern of the Government as well as the urban Planners .

The reason for this are many.With the liberalization of the Indian economy

  • The large Indian middle class has that extra money to afford ‘necessities'(vehicles being one of them) which was considered as a ‘luxury’ not very long ago.
  • The availability of state of the art Vehicles in India which is too tempting to be ignored by the affluent.

However every care has to be taken to see that these ‘necessities’ do not become a bane in day to day life. This calls for an effective transportation management in an Urban setting. Since ‘Transportation Management’ is a spatial phenomenon GIS can be used as an effective tool in Managing and Planning transportation.

This paper gives a comprehensive insight as to how GIS can be used effectively to manage and plan Transportation and make commuting easier (if not pleasure) in an Urban setting.

Need for transportation management:
The growth of any urban area is driven by two factors. One being, the establishment of Businesses which open up tremendous employment opportunities and secondly the large influx of people to the urban areas.This results in large number of people commuting from a large number of residential pockets, to the Central Business Districts where majority of the business establishments are located.

On an average an urban commuter spends about 2 – 3 hours every day on the roads to reach the work place , school or home where as a decade back the same distance would have been covered in about half the time as that of now. Considering the exponential growth of the number of Vehicles and the ever increasing population the situation is bound to reach alarming levels in the near future. At the same time all the Technical advancements made in various fields of Science and Technology provide effective tools to check,manage and plan the ‘Vehicular traffic’.

Challenges :
The challenges in effective Transportation management are many. The number of Vehicles on the roads is steadily increasing where as the roads and the land available for building new roads are very limited. Managing , redirecting and decongesting the traffic within the existing roads and space is indeed a challenging task.

Geographical Information systems (GIS) in the recent past has acquired tremendous importance in various applications.In general any application which has a spatial phenomenon can leverage the GIS technology.

By the use of GIS and GPS (Global Positioning Systems) it is possible to continuously track the location of Vehicles at any given point of time. So far this Technology which is very popularly referred as Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) is being effectively used for fleet management and is provided by AVL service providers. This technology with its high cost of implementation and specific use has been limited as it is used mainly by companies owning large fleet of vehicles to track their Vehicles.

But with all the advancements made in the fields of GIS and especially the decreasing size and cost of GPS it is possible to use the same AVL technologies, to track any Vehicle that is just out of the assembly line. All the trucks,cars and even two wheelers can be fitted with a GPS which is as small as a chip and which gives an accurate position of the Vehicle in terms of longitude and latitude.

Once the vehicles are fitted with the GPS a centralized traffic control room which has all the necessary equipments to view and analyse the location of every vehicle on the road can be made use of. This centralized traffic control room can have many computer terminals, each of them concentrating on viewing and analyzing the Vehicular traffic at the important junctions, roads of the city which has a large flow of traffic. The system also can be built as an intelligent system which is capable of generating alternate routes if there is a jam at any point of time. The system can be used to know the average number of vehicles plying on each road on a daily basis. The same data can be stored in a database and later mined which can be very useful in various activities of traffic planning and management .

The question is how a person like you and I can make use of this intelligent system when in the middle of the road battling the traffic.The results of the analysis put together by the Centralised traffic control room can be made use of to effectively manage the traffic. All important data like the number of Vehicles on each road, information about the roads where there are jams and the details of alternate roads that can be taken can be displayed on huge electronic sign boards that can be installed at important traffic junctions, roads and even on the internet. Another way of keeping the users updated is by making use of the radio with traffic updates at some time intervals.

Transportation management being a spatial phenomenon can be managed effectively using the GIS technology. Following are the benefits of effective transportation management.

  • Ease of traffic movement
  • Lesser time on roads
  • Reduced tempers while driving
  • Increased Personal safety.
  • Effective transport planning.