Just as roads need to be repaved and highways repaired, the technological infrastructure that guides traffic also has to be kept up-to-date. But updating traffic management systems can be costly, as new applications and devices are often not designed to interoperate with older systems. Overcoming this problem is the IST project OMNIs prototype platform that allows traffic authorities to integrate the new while retaining the old, thereby protecting past investments.
"There are high investments involved in equipping a European city with traffic management systems and infrastructures," says project coordinator Antonio Marqués of Etra Investigación y Desarollo in Spain. "And problems arise when upgrading control systems or moving to a different vendor as this usually involves renovating high-cost equipment."
Until now different applications and devices operating on different protocols or from different vendors have normally been unable to interoperate, but OMNIs network-wide, intersection-driven transport management model overcomes this problem. The OMNI model acts as an intermediate layer isolating network infrastructure from the applications using it. Put simply, "it makes all the components talk to each other in the same language and understand each other," Marqués explains.
Tried and tested
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