Intelligent Traffic Light Installations

Not only vehicles are becoming smarter; innovation is also holding sway in roadside installations. As part of this development, Rijkswaterstaat has activated 19 intelligent traffic light installations (iTLIs).

These iTLIs contain software capable of communicating with vehicles and navigation apps to make traffic safer and more sustainable.

Road users receive more information

The roadside traffic light installations are capable of communicating with vehicles and navigation apps. As a result, road users are already able to see, via their navigation app or built-in navigation system, whether the traffic lights are at red or green. Within the near future, they will also see how long it will be before they switch to red or green. This enables them to respond more rapidly to the situation at the junction. But also adapt their speed ahead of time.

Traffic lights are getting smarter

Rijkswaterstaat reporter Elze investigates how iTLIs are making traffic safer and more sustainable. But also how this development can be rolled out on a larger scale.

Presenter Elze walks along the waterfront in a bright yellow raincoat and with a Rijkswaterstaat coffee mug. She sits down on a bench with a view of the city of Arnhem behind her. Rijkswaterstaat is installing and testing... nineteen smart traffic lights. These traffic lights communicate with vehicles and navigation apps. She has a shiny burgundy bag on her lap. Today I’m off to find out how they work. But they also have a course for staff... Elze takes an iPad from her bag. so I’m going to take that first. Over Elze's shoulder we see the course on the screen with a multiple choice question. Question 1: What can you do with an iTLI? A light blue screen with yellow icons representing smart data close the scene and bring it to the next scene. We see cars speeding past on a highway. In this series I’m looking into how Rijkswaterstaat... and its partners... Elze enters a Rijkswaterstaat building. The camera is in a transparent elevator and sees Elze walking by in the hallway. are making Smart Mobility work. Elze in a close interview shot. Great, haha. Elze is at a different location in front of a Rijkswaterstaat office where the strong wind makes her scarf flutter. I’ll be looking at how they’re using new technologies... An intelligent cabinet up close. A busy intersection, where traffic meets the viewer. The cars just got green. to get people from door to door smarter and more safely. A busy intersection, where traffic drives the viewer away from the camera. The cars just got green. That way, we travel smart together. A light blue screen with yellow icons representing smart data close the scene and bring it to the next scene. Hi Elze! - Ah! Guido the traffic expert walks in a wide shot to Elze with Arnhem in the background. Elze sits on a bench in a wooded area. Busy, I see! - Yes! Elze puts her iPad in her bag. So you can tell me more about smart traffic lights? Yes. I’m Guido, iTLI project leader at Rijkswaterstaat. Guido's name title comes into play: iTLI project leader. We see him up close with the city center of Arnhem out of focus in the background. The image is frozen with Guido still. Yellow titles appear on the screen with major project leader iTLIs intelligent traffic light installations They’re really handy, those smart traffic lights, aren’t they? Yes. They communicate with your car or navigation app... And soon you’ll be able to see how long you’ll have to wait... before the traffic light turns green.... We see Elze listening to Guido in a close-up shot. and it will also recommend a suitable driving speed. And it makes it more convenient for me on the road, too... because I won’t have to stop so often. We see a broad image with Guido and Elze, neatly spaced from each other, still near the bench the wooded area with Arnhem in the background. Yes, that’s right. And besides giving you information, the iTLI also uses information from your car... or navigation app to improve the traffic flow. That way, we can give earlier priority to emergency services or lorries, for instance... and if lorries have to stop less often, that cuts down on a lot of emissions. That’s so clever! Now I want to see what one looks like in real life. A light blue screen with yellow icons representing smart data close the scene and bring it to the next scene. A broad image from the air shows the complex traffic roundabout at Velperbroek. In a new image, from the backseat we watch Elze as she drives and looks over the traffic roundabout. There are plans to install a lot more iTLIs across the country. On my course I learned that Rijkswaterstaat... is a member of the Talking Traffic partnership Through the windshield we see cars in front of Elze's car braking for the red light. and has just installed nineteen iTLIs. They want to learn as much from them as possible... From the passenger seat we see Elze concentrated driving. Elze looks outside and we see her face through the rear view mirror. so they’re testing products from various manufacturers. Through the windshield we see cars in front of Elze's car braking for the red light. And the iTLIs are installed at complex intersections like this one. Een lichtblauw scherm met gele iconen die slimme data voorstellen sluiten de scène en brengen het naar de volgende scène. Een mannenvinger, onthult uit een oranje verkeersjas, drukt op een blauw knopje op een touchscreen van een verkeerskundig digitaal apparaat. In een ruim beeld wordt de man onthult en blijkt hij bij een grijze verkeerskast te staan. Elze komt aanlopen met een oranje veiligheidshesje aan. Achter haar zien we groen en het verkeer verderop. Hi, I’m Elze. I’ve come to have a look. Hi, I’m Emiel. Traffic engineer at Rijkswaterstaat. Emiel and Elze are at a good distance from each other near the traffic cupboard. There is all kinds of complex equipment in the cabinet. The image is frozen and We see yellow titles with Emiel: TRAFFIC ENGINEER THINKS ABOUT SMART TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS A wide view of Elze with greenery and traffic in the background. Is this one of these iTLIs? We see Emiel in a picture closer, where we only look and listen to him. Yes it is. All the data is received in this cabinet, so this is where we do all the calculations... and then it sends a signal to the traffic light... and it changes to red or green. The light on the traffic roundabout changes from orange to red. Oh, I recognise this box from my course! A close-up view of the cabinet shows a smaller cabinet with different colored buttons. The box stands out with a yellow jumping edge. That’s the most important one. With this little box we’ll soon be able to communicate with navigation apps... We see Emiel in a picture closer, where we only look and listen to him. and navigation apps will send information back to the traffic light. And the traffic light can use that information. We see Elze closer in an image, where we only look and listen to her question. And does this iTLI communicate with other iTLIs nearby, too? Wide picture with Elze and Emiel in front of the iTLI cabinet. This traffic light is in a series of eight traffic lights… belonging to Arnhem and Rheden councils and the province... and they can communicate with each other. So as soon as traffic is directed to this intersection at another traffic light... this traffic light gets to hear about it. Then it can use that information... and switch to green in time to let the traffic through. we see Elze up close, listening to Emiel. We started the project three years ago, and it has been quite a learning curve. We had to make all kinds of arrangements with the councils and the province... and ultimately we installed them. So they’re brand new. - Very new! Elze up close, points to the iTLI cabinet. And is this one of the nineteen iTLIs? - It is! A light blue screen with yellow icons representing smart data close the scene and bring it to the next scene. An image of Elze and Guido walking next to each other on the other side of the road and talking to each other. Can I already see how long I’ll have to wait before the lights turn green at all nineteen sites? We see Elze and Guido from the front, in which they talk to each other and look at each other, while they walk ahead towards the camera. Not yet, but hopefully it will all be up and running by the time this vlog is published. Over the next couple of weeks we will be working hard to cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s. Elze and Guido are standing still, again close to the traffic in the background, but mainly green in their surroundings. We alternately see them in close-up images while they listen to or tell each other, or ask a question. OK, so what’s the next step? Over the next three years we’ll be making another eighty traffic lights smarter. Working with colleagues and other road operators. We will also be helping to produce the national standards... which can be used elsewhere in Europe as well. And after those three years, how do you see things going in the future? In the future, I think the data from the iTLIs will be used ... in self-driving cars. But until then, you can benefit from iTLIs in your navigation app. Sounds great, I’ll do that. Elze looks happy in an image up close. We see a shot of the traffic from the roundabout. It is one fifth of the way where we also see the bridge over it. It is quite busy. Elze is located on a high point near the traffic roundabout. We see her up close while she tells. So there we have it – installing smart traffic lights will make driving more convenient... and there will be fewer traffic jams. This way, we travel smart together. Elze raises her thumb and walks away. In a spacious image with only Elze and a wide horizon with a gray sky, we see her walking away. We hear an app sound and she stops. Oh. We see a green SMS balloon on the screen with: Elze, you passed! Congratulations! Yes, I passed the course! Elze walks off the statue and jumps. She clicks her heels together as a way of bliss. You can still hear her vaguely calling 'yippee'. The yellow and white Rijkswaterstaat smart mobility credits appear. More information? Check out Rijkswaterstaat Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management A production of Rijkswaterstaat in collaboration with partnership talking traffic. 2020

Improved traffic flow

The navigation apps and vehicles pass on their location, speed and direction of travel to the iTLI. The iTLI then uses this information to optimise traffic flow at the junction. Navigation apps can also offer speed recommendations, reducing the number of occasions on which vehicles are required to brake or accelerate. In particular, for heavy trucks, this will help make traffic movements more sustainable.

Prioritising road users

A unique aspect of the iTLIs is that they communicate via the Talking Traffic data chain. The iTLI receives information earlier, and therefore is in a position to grant earlier priority to specific traffic flows. In this way, a green wave can be created for example for emergency services, public transport vehicles and even cyclists! A safe and sustainable solution.

Partners in innovation

Rijkswaterstaat has now installed 19 iTLIs at a variety of junctions, right across the Netherlands. Over the next 3 years, our aim is to install intelligent software in a further 80 sets of traffic lights. This in collaboration with system suppliers and other road managers. We have spent the last 3 years working on innovative solutions. Through knowledge sharing and standardisation, further innovations will be rolled out on a large scale in the future. The outcome will be safer, faster and more sustainable traffic management and smart road use for everyone!

Smart Mobility for international road use

Within Rijkswaterstaat, on an international scale, we are working on a whole raft of Smart Mobility projects. Together with other road managers, market parties and centres of expertise, we are taking every opportunity to implement new, sustainable technologies and innovations, in everyday practice. For more information about Smart Mobility, visit the Smart Mobility page.