CityU Drives Forward Intelligent Traffic Systems

By Eliza Lee  - City University

Dr Stephen Liao Shaoyi, Associate Professor from the Department of Information Systems in the College of Business at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), has developed three intelligent traffic systems with HK$10 million worth of funding from the Innovation and Technology Fund and from industry to enhance road safety and transportation efficiency.

The projects include an advanced safety system for vehicles, an intelligent transportation system with mobile vehicle technology applications, and a technological platform for collecting and integrating traffic information. All three projects are collaborations between Hong Kong and Guangdong, underscoring the strength of knowledge transfer between CityU and the mainland.

The 2009–10 policy address given by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR singled out innovation and technology as one of the six competitive industries that Hong Kong should develop. The substantial amount of public and private funds awarded to Dr Liao’s projects reflects recognition from the community that CityU is committed to innovative technological research and knowledge transfer.

“These three systems are specially designed for busy traffic in Hong Kong. I hope the technologies developed can be transferred to industry and be put to practical use for the benefit of society and the economy,” he said.

The advanced safety system for vehicles provides real-time traffic information to drivers and passengers. The system compares the road speed limit with the actual speed, reminds the driver when the vehicle is approaching the speed limit and issues appropriate cautions about slowing down. It can also automatically report serious accidents to the police and record driving data for investigation purposes. It is also equipped with a system for public transport that automatically announces the next station.

The intelligent transportation system with mobile vehicle technology applications offers automatic communication technologies. The data will be processed and sent to nearby vehicles using the same system. The latest traffic data are updated and used to predict traffic situations and offers alternative routes and other traffic information. With the aid of the system, drivers can select the best route to avoid jams.

Collecting and integrating traffic information provides a unified platform for processing the most recent data. The platform can manage traffic resources and analyse road situations based on the instantaneous data received from vehicles and cameras installed on the road. The system enables traffic controllers to respond quickly to road incidents in a given district to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.

Several local and mainland organisations provided Dr Liao with personnel, funding, data and technical support during the study. They include the Innovation and Technology Commission and its subsidiary, Automotive Parts and Accessory Systems R&D Centre; the Transport Department of the Hong Kong SAR; and the Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Intelligent Traffic Service.

Dr Liao said he will continue to study the technologies and applications of information exchange between mobile phones and traffic facilities. His target is to establish an integrated system that allows communication between mobile phone users, passengers, drivers and traffic information centres in order to provide more efficient and comprehensive information.