by Jo van Nunen

The ambition of the European Union is to take a leading position in the world economy. Crucial to the business processes that can bring such prosperity to European citizens are sustainable transport and logistics systems. Successfully developing such systems requires a balance between the three 'Ps' of sustainability – Planet, People and Profit. This is not easy, since transportation has a number of negative consequences, including congestion and undesirable emissions. In this issue of ERCIM News, scientists in the field of traffic management, transport and logistics demonstrate how mathematical modelling can help to find the right balance between the 3 'Ps' while creating a sustainable future for the transport and logistics sector. The role of information technology is also discussed, since it is increasingly important in providing the infrastructure for monitoring traffic and logistics systems, for handling collected information and for providing the algorithms and methods necessary to analyse the large amounts of data that are now available.

Cargo flow can be followed continuously with an active RFID tag combined with GPRS devices (source:  Schenker AG).
Cargo flow can be followed continuously with an active RFID tag combined with GPRS devices (source: Schenker AG).

by Leo Kroon

The Dutch railway timetable for 2007 is probably the only example of high-brow mathematics that is discussed by the whole population of the Netherlands. This timetable is partly based on mathematical optimisation models that were developed by CWI, Erasmus University, and others.

by Per Kreuger and Martin Aronsson

Efficient railyard shunting is essential to cargo transporters in rail networks. In this article we explore methods of handling the situation where the capacity of the shunting yard is insufficient to handle all outgoing trains.

by Martin Aronsson and Per Kreuger

Software that optimizes stacking of container ports has the potential to significantly improve transhipment efficiency. We have investigated this problem and present some exciting new approaches to solving it.

by Tamás Luspay, István Varga and Balázs Kulcsár

The design of modern optimal control strategies is one of the research activities of the Systems and Control Laboratory, SZTAKI, through the project 'Advanced Vehicles and Vehicle-Control Knowledge Centre'. We have applied modern system and control theory to a variety of fields, and this has recently led to new results in urban traffic control and freeway traffic applications

by Puspita Deo and Heather J. Ruskin

Managing road networks requires a clear understanding of traffic flow, including causes of congestion or locations of traffic breakdowns. Scientists at Dublin City University are examining the influence of long-vehicle (LV) fraction on urban and inter-urban traffic flow through a road network. A two-component cellular automaton (2-CA) methodology is chosen for heterogeneous motorized traffic. The emphasis is on individual vehicle interactions for a binary mix of vehicle types, namely short (SV) and long vehicles for an urban single-lane junction and roundabout.

by Gabriella Bretti, Roberto Natalini and Benedetto Piccoli

A new simulation algorithm based on fluid dynamics, which computes numerical solutions to traffic flow problems on road networks, has been developed. The algorithm reconstructs in real time the evolution of flow and density in road networks, and provides a better approximation with respect to classical models. A satisfactory reconstruction of the network load can be obtained with only a few measurements.

by Anders Holst and Markus Bohlin

With the introduction of condition-based and predictive maintenance, today's fixed vehicle cycles designed for fixed maintenance intervals are no longer appropriate. We have shown that it is possible to construct vehicle circuits dynamically in response to condition monitoring and condition counters.

by Poulicos Prastacos and Yiannis Kamarianakis

Intelligent transportation systems integrate data collection, processing and communications infrastructure with data storage and analytical tools. At IACM-FORTH, researchers in the Regional Analysis Division (RAD) have been working on the statistical modelling issues that emerge in the processing of traffic data streams of great magnitude and wildly varying quality. In particular, they are looking at the detection of traffic sensor malfunctions, imputation of missing or bad data, estimation of velocity and forecasting of travel times in urban arterials.

by John Polak

The impact of road traffic on local air quality is of major concern in public policy, and in recent years has stimulated a substantial body of research. This is aimed at improving underlying vehicle and traffic management technology and informing public policy action. Recent work has begun to exploit the capability of a variety of vehicle-based, person-based and infrastructure-based sensor systems to collect real-time data on important aspects of driver and traffic behaviour, vehicle emissions, pollutant dispersion and concentration, and human exposure.

by Arnaud de La Fortelle, Jean-Marc Lasgouttes and Cyril Furtlehner

Concepts and techniques from statistical physics have inspired a new method for traffic prediction. This method is particularly suitable in settings where the only information available is floating car data. We propose a system, based on the Ising model from statistical physics, which both reconstructs and predicts the traffic in real time using a message-passing algorithm.

by Arnaud de La Fortelle, Angel Talamona and Mikaël Kais

The research collaboration LaRA (La Route Automatisé) between the IMARA (Informatics, Mathematics and Automation for La Route Automatisée) Lab at INRIA and the 'Centre de CAO et Robotique' CAOR at the Ecoles de Mines de Paris, improves the state of the art of traffic prediction technology through statistical modelling based on instrumented probe vehicles. Working together with European industrial and research partners like TNO, Motorola and Intempora, the European project REACT (Realizing Enhanced Safety and Efficiency in European Road Transport) has demonstrated breakthrough technology based on integrated in-car sensing and a traffic management centre. SENDA, an INRIA spin-off company that is licensing LaRA's traffic modelling technology, has built on the work of REACT to overcome technical issues for the cooperative system's deployment.

by Jianyang Zhou, Jianyi Zhou, Jiande Zhou, Yann Courtet, Weiping Wu and Hua Ni

In modern logistics, multi-modal transport planning and vehicle routing represent two major problems. Within a supply chain, the first determines how to forward freight between different regions, while the second plans the local fleet of vehicles, both in order to minimize transport costs. These problems are significant for third- and/or fourth-party logistics. In practice, complex transport conditions such as on-time delivery, capacity (quantity/volume/weight), work regulation (time/break/makespan), transport mode, security and coupling constraints may lead to computational challenges for the optimization engine.

by Günter Kiechle

The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for preparing input data for optimisation algorithms improves the practical applicability of such algorithms in the field of transportation planning. This promising combination of technologies is the subject of a collaboration between the University of Vienna and Salzburg Research.

by Cyril Ray, Thomas Devogele, Valérie Noyon, Mathieu Petit, Sebastien Fournier
and Christophe Claramunt

At the Naval Academy Research Institute in France, collaborative research in the fields of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and maritime transportation is producing data models and computing architectures that favour the development of traffic monitoring and analysis for decision-aid systems.

by David Hausheer and Burkhard Stiller

PeerMart defines a fully decentralized auction-based marketplace layered on top of a peer-to-peer (P2P) network, and makes the trading of services over the Internet technically and economically feasible. While being generally applicable to any service-trading scenario, PeerMart shows great potential as a new method for scalable and reliable bandwidth trading on demand.

by Francois Fages and Abder Aggoun

Net-WMS - Towards integrating Virtual Reality and optimisation techniques in a new generation of networked businesses in Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) under constraints - is a new project managed by ERCIM, developing interactive optimisation tools and prototype software that will form the basis for a new generation of networked services for WMS.

by Francois Dolivo

The IBM Secure Trade Lane (STL) is a new comprehensive global logistics information platform. It gives global supply-chain stakeholders access to information on demand, allowing real-time access and response to physical cargo monitoring data as well as the related logistics transaction data. For the first time, shipments can be monitored from the manufacturer to the store and related activities such as port operations optimized.

by Günter Karjoth and Paul Moskowitz

Existing methods designed to protect consumer privacy in RFID either put the burden on the consumer or suffer from the very limited capabilities of today's RFID tags. By using 'clipped' tags, consumers are able to physically separate a part of the antenna from the tag in an intuitive way. Such a separation provides visual confirmation that the tag has been turned into a proximity tag. Deliberate action on the part of the owner is then required to permit the RFID tag to be read. This mechanism enables controlled reuse after purchase, making the clipped tag a viable addition to the privacy mechanisms proposed for the use of RFID by consumers.

by Zsolt Kemény and Marcell Szathmári

Today's trends in industrial production are marked by heterogeneous conglomerates such as production networks, and rapidly changing customer requirements. In order to improve competitiveness in such a production scene, tracking and tracing of both goods and data must remain efficient across company borders. This is, however, associated with a high investment burden, given today's technological background. The EU-funded project 'TraSer' aims at reducing these costs by providing free, open-source solutions for tracking and tracing across company borders.

by Tamás Máhr and Alfons Salden

How can agent-based technology reduce transport costs, traffic jams and carbon dioxide emissions? DEAL, a Dutch research project on multi-agent-based logistic monitoring and planning, is studying these questions.

by Matthieu Molinier

Traffic monitoring is becoming increasingly important in the planning of transportation and infrastructure in urban areas. Video sensors can capture detailed information about the nature and speed of moving traffic objects. VTT has developed a generic tool for traffic monitoring, which allows the interactive definition of traffic events and stores position and speed records in geocoded (GIS) form for later analysis. This tool is being used by the Helsinki City Planning Department for intersection monitoring and for the joint analysis of vehicle and pedestrian behaviour near pedestrian crossings.

by Antonio Lucas

Past and present visions of an effectively managed and integrated road transport system have in general missed a key point: the informed and cooperative road user. This is disappointing, because even in the most sophisticated scenario (eg ADAS), the power of decision and the freedom to use electronic devices will be on the driver's side. Comprehensibility and credibility of devices within the ITS domain are essential for road users and thus for the improvement of the entire transport system. Recent European initiatives both within DG TREN (Easy way) and DG INFSO (e-Safety) have brought new attention to this important issue.

Next issue: April 2021
Special theme:
"Brain-Inspired Computing"
Call for the next issue
Get the latest issue to your desktop
RSS Feed