Integrated Corridor Management is organizational and technological measure envisioned by Federal Highway Administration and Department of Transportation for fighting these losses.
The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) defines Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) as „an approach to improving transportation by taking all elements in a corridor, including highways, arterial roads, and transit systems into account. ICM is the operational coordination of multiple transportation networks and cross network connections comprising a corridor and the institutional coordination of those agencies and entities responsible for corridor mobility. It will transform the way transportation networks are managed within a corridor, enabling agencies to see the overall impact of multimodal transportation network management decisions and to optimize the movement of people and goods within the corridor instead of just on individual networks. “
How Users See It?
ICM is a complex concept with numerous stakeholders. The stakeholders, users of the system, translate their needs and expectations from ICM system into Concept of Operations (ConOps) and System Requirements (SRS). The experience says that this level of concept and specifications is well defined at user level. In other words, user requirements are transparently defined.
Materialization of the Concept
ConOps and SRS are materialized through ICM software system (ICMSS). ICMSS is used by the users’ operating personnel to keep traffic on the corridor as efficient and harmonized as possible. They do it by supervising the conditions through graphical user interface that represents corridor network, and responding to events and incidents on the corridor by choosing, simulating and implementing suitable management strategies and response plans for incident/event management.
The main part of ICMSS is Decision Support System (DSS). DSS assists operators in choosing right strategies, simulates their outcome in real-time and transfers operating commands to different sub-systems on the corridor, handled by different agencies, such as Advanced Traffic Management Systems (ATMS), Traffic Signal Systems (TSS), etc.
So far, ICM systems have been implemented as Pilot projects and technological implementation of ICMSS is still not standardized. Only couple of implemented pilot projects so far, each of them with different lessons learned, are still too little to get clear picture about technological options for implementing ICMSS. Therefore, new pilot projects are still being conducted for that purpose.
Users know what they want to achieve with ICM, but they still don’t know what is the optimum technology to make ICM operating efficiently, in real-time, in simplest and most uniform way.
The main purpose of ICMSS is to “give life” to a complex concept for integrated traffic management on a corridor. The implementation of that concept is linked to various communication and organizational challenges. DSS must help in solving all those challenges.
Currently, technical specifications for ICMSS and DSS are still being developed. There are technological hurdles to overcome. Here are some examples:
- The quality of data. What data should be available to DSS and what is the minimum quality level for this data, so that real-time simulations done with this set of data could be considered plausible. Considering that data is collected at ATMS and TSS level, and DSS performs online simulation with this data, DSS must be able to compensate the difference between available data from ATMS and TSS level and minimum required data for simulation.
- How to implement and track execution of initiated strategy through multi-hierarchical, multi-jurisdictional set of ATMS and TSS systems of different agencies throughout the corridor? The strategies are initiated at the ICM level that does not have jurisdiction over executive elements of local ATMS and TSS. The technological question is how to implement and operationalize it with ICMSS.
- Efficient and effective dissemination of traffic information and rerouting towards travelers. How to persuade travelers to follow rerouting guidance as it is one of the basic measures for solving incident situations on Corridor? For some strategies that use multi-rerouting (traffic from main direction is rerouted on multiple rerouting directions) it is very important to redirect travelers to different directions with controllable ratios. How to achieve this most efficiently with available technology?
The Importance of ICM Software for ICM concept
The success of ICM concept will be proportional to the level of determination of all stakeholders, the quality of incident management strategies, and efficiency of ICMSS implementation, especially DSS.
Having in mind that integrated corridor management is happening in real time, the speed, precision and synchronization of reactions between all institutional and technological components of the system will determine the difference between success or failure of ICM concept.
ICM DSS is the technological component that defines that speed, precision and synchronization.
The Difference Between ICM Software and ATMS Software
The ATMS Software is focused on control of executive elements of road traffic management system (traffic detectors, DMS, meteo sensors, traffic lights, etc). On the other hand, besides ATMS functionalities, ICMSS also must support:
- Integration of all transportation modes (private vehicles, public transport, light railway, etc) related to movement of travelers on a certain corridor
- Operational relation between different services and institutions involved in traffic management processes (511, police, road patrol, first responders, fire department, etc)
All this must be orchestrated through ICM software system that supports complex operational processes that are happening during execution of management strategies defined in ICM ConsOps.
In other words, the purpose of ATMS software is operating only traffic management systems, while the purpose of ICMSS is managing multiple parallel complex processes – and this is the foundation of Integrated Corridor Management.
Some of ICMSS functions, such as process management in multi-hierarchical and multi-jurisdictional environment, interactive rule-based traffic irregularities detector and real-time simulation evaluator are completely new categories in traffic management technologies, not used in ATMS.
Integrated Corridor Management is a concept that has better potential to most effectively utilize ITS infrastructure and have most efficient impact on traffic flow, than any other known management concept in ITS.
The operational efficiency of ICM will depend on the level of involvement of all stakeholders, the quality of the design of the system, but at the end it will all be translated to the ICM Software System, which is the tool that stakeholders use to operationalize the concept. The heart of this system is Decision Support System, a true technical realization of ICM concept.
The software platform, on which ICMSS and DSS are built, must be adapted to operational processes of all involved stakeholders (traffic management, emergency actions, informing public, dissemination toward travelers, etc).
It is obvious that efficiency of ICMSS and DSS have direct impact on successful realization of ICM concept. Therefore, a great attention should be paid to the choice of software platform on which the system will be built. Having in mind that financial budgets and time limits of a single project are not enough to successfully build this complex software platform from the scratch, the implementation of such software system should be based on existing software platforms, validated on similar hierarchical traffic management systems concepts.