Zhuhai, a busy coastal city in China’s Pearl River Delta, aims to become one of the ‘green transportation’ champions of the world. It has launched Siemens centralised traffic control solution that maximizes traffic safety and throughput, while offering information and ticketing for public transport, bike rental and other services. Siemens’ solution for Zhuhai is a showcase to approximately 120 Chinese cities that face traffic congestion problems similar to those of Zhuhai.
Zhuhai is developing itself into a core port on the west seashore of Pearl River Delta. The city (1.5 million inhabitants) has a reputation in China as one of the greenest, prettiest, and most liveable cities in the country. Unfortunately, like many Chinese cities, Zhuhai faces traffic congestion, accidents, pollution and a lack of traffic information transparency. The amount of cars and truck increased at such a speed that the congestion is immense and the resulting air pollution unacceptable. »
A ‘green’ approach
To deal with the problems, city managers were looking a ‘green’ approach, fitting the special experimental zone it established on ecological civilization; furthermore, Zhuhai wants to become a model city for technological development. In its effort to cope with traffic problems and to create a liveable environment for citizens, the city wanted its traffic system to be safe, smooth, convenient and green. To reach that goal, the city has developed a roadmap where public transport, cycling and walking cover 80 per cent of mobility requirements. This would make Zhuhai a model city in terms of green mobility in China and beyond. »
Maximise safety and throughput
Building on its extensive global experience in development of transportation systems, Siemens Mobility Consulting in China provided customer-designed proposals to Zhuhai Municipal Government on how to tackle the transport challenges.
The centralized traffic control management system Zhuhai has implemented in cooperation with Siemens, offers the possibility to maximize traffic safety and throughput. The traffic control operator can adjust and manage the complete city transportation system in such a way that the traffic flow is optimized during the whole day. Green times of traffic lights are based on demand, so they differ during the day depending on peak and rush hours. Normally it is pre-set because the traffic pattern repeats itself. However in case of emergency he can interfere. The traffic system does not just offer green light to ‘decongest’ busy streets. Because all intersections are connected, traffics gain benefits for long stretches. »
More than just traffic circulation
There is more to Zhuhai’s ambitions than just improving circulation in its busy transport system, says Frank Hagemeier, EVP & General Manager of Siemens China
Mobility Division. “Zhuhai strongly believes that the right investments in public transport and cycling and walking facilities prevents people from buying cars or making use of them during peak hours.”
To help the city achieve this goal, Siemens provided not only the central platform itself to manage Zhuhai’s traffic, but also integrated it with existing local solutions. Employing the latest Big Data and Cloud Computing technology, the platform incorporates data and information from several government and internal/external sources, which will be combined to raise Zhuhai’s Traffic Data Standard. »
How does it work?
Advanced algorithms have been established to support and feed the apps and traffic models. Based on a ‘City Cockpit’ the city management gets an overview of the traffic status and make strategic decisions related to the traffic more precisely. The platform is able to interface with internal and external traffic data collected from various systems. Also, the system offers much-wanted transparency to Zhuhai’s citizens. It provides useful traffic information and services to the public through a dedicated website and mobile application. The information provided is ‘multi-model’: road and public transport data and information is combined in one system. »
What will bring the future when this system is in to place? Hagemeier: “The Zhuhai Traffic Management System has set a good example for Chinese cities’ green transportation ambitions. Many of Zhuhai’s inhabitants have already benefitted from the online ticketing and bike rental that are part of service functions provided by the platform.” The Zhuhai Government has vowed it will continue to invest in the platform; it wants to add more features and applications under the ambitious goal of ‘Smart City’ Zhuhai.
The need for traffic management systems like this one is expected to grow in China, as 350 million people are expected to leave their villages and move into urban centres within the next two decades. Most will be absorbed into smaller and medium-sized cities, like Zhuhai.
Hagemeier: “For Siemens, Zhuhai is one of the biggest showcases and success stories in China when it comes to implementation of the latest traffic IT solutions and the result it can bring to the city and its population. The traffic situation and pollution in many Chinese cities is so big that this showcase has set the benchmark. More cities will follow the bold example set by Zhuhai.”