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Know More About Traffic Control Systems

written by: Om Thoke • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 3/26/2010

As the number of road vehicles and passengers is rapidly growing, there is a dire need for safety-critical traffic automation. This article covers the basics of traffic control systems, future prospects, and a little about the air traffic control system as well.

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    There are many traffic control algorithms that can aid future technology. The traffic control system design can be appraised in two steps – synthesis & analysis. However, most models rely on knowing information a priori so that the most suitable model is chosen for creation of an optimal solution.

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    Basic Components of a Traffic Control System

    Traffic patterns are influenced by the control inputs and the disturbances incurred. Control inputs are closely related to control devices like message signs and traffic lights. Disturbances include challenges like automatic incident detection, avoiding traffic jams, working with external disturbances and finding an optimal itinerary.

    An intelligent control structure ensures that the road traffic system exceeds the expectations in terms of performance. Traffic regulation on a normal driving day is quite arduous. Navigating through thick traffic can be made easier with enhanced technology and smarter control systems; for instance, control strips can be placed on lanes.

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    What Are Traffic Control Strips?

    Traffic control strip is a clear strip of material rigidly affixed to the surface of the traffic lane. The traffic control strips include the electrical transmission lines extending from the detectors and the luminants to the processors. The luminants are a bunch of LEDs spaced in a linear array.

    The detector is an infrared transmitter/detector positioned at regular intervals along the traffic control strip. Vehicles passing along the traffic control strip may contain suitably positioned infrared transmitters and receivers for communication with the traffic control computers. This way, individual vehicles can be monitored and navigated to their respective destinations.

    The air traffic control strips help in building up an air traffic control system; let us now discover more about the Air Traffic Controlling, often referred to as ATC or ACS.

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    Air Traffic Control System

    Air Traffic Control System   An air traffic control system [ATC] is one of the successful algorithmic implementations. The synthesis and analysis approach can be applied to this domain also.

    Air traffic control system is a closed control system where a ‘master’ communicates with ‘locals’; the systems which are connected to the master, through fibre optic cable or wireless systems.

    Various on-street monitoring devices provide active feedback to the central control system. Synthesizing the atmosphere for an ATC involves distinct divisions like:

    • Control Command Center (CCC) - The CCC oversees all air traffic control

    • Air route traffic control centers (ARTCC) - Manages traffic within all sectors of its area.

    • Air traffic control tower (ATCT) - ATCTs handle all takeoff, landing, and ground traffic.

    An airport has predetermined timing plans and schedules; which categorizes this as a time-based coordinated control system. In traffic responsive control system, system detectors control the system based on level of demand.

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    Analysis of ATC

    The analysis of this system takes place while it is in operation. During pre-flight; the flight plan is processed by the control tower [CCC], working in tandem with the ground controller and local controller, to ensure that secured clearance can be given for take off.

    After take off, ARTCC takes over navigation of the aircraft. The radar associate controller receives the flight-plan prior to the aircraft entering that sector.

    The associate controller works with the radar controller in charge of that sector and updates the flight status periodically.

    An approach controller directs the pilot to adjust the aircraft's speed and altitude to line up and prepare to land. The destination local controller in the airport tower checks the runways and the skies and gives the pilot clearance to land.

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    In a Nutshell

    Modeling of traffic control systems helps in better understanding of the practicalities encountered while constructing a real-time traffic control system through simulation of complex traffic networks. With intelligent traffic controls in place, the world will be a better place to drive, and fly!

    You may also be interested to read more on Robot Control Systems

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    Design of an Intelligent Traffic Control System - [Eric]