Wednesday, June 11, 2008

IBM Japan, Kyoto University Develop Large-scale Traffic Simulator

IBM Japan Ltd and Kyoto University jointly developed a new technology that can simulate a wide range of traffic conditions in large metropolitan areas where several million vehicles interact with one another in a complicated manner.

With this technology, it is possible to simulate the behavior of individual vehicles in detail. Based on various scenarios, traffic policies and city planning for wide regions, such as the entire Tokyo metropolitan area, can be evaluated in a multilateral way, according to IBM Japan and the University.

The latest technology is part of the achievement from the Strategic Information and Communications R&D Promotion Program commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

According to IBM Japan and the University, the main goal of the latest joint development is to simulate in detail wide-range traffic situations in metropolitan areas where people's intentions and drivers with diversified driving characteristics interact with one another in a complicated manner.

During the joint development, Ishida & Matsubara Lab at Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University established the system to model various types of drivers such as young and older people.

Tokyo Research Laboratory of IBM Japan developed a large-scale multiagent simulation environment "IBM Zonal Agent-based Simulation Environmental" and a large-scale multiagent traffic simulator called "IBM Mega Traffic Simulator," which allow the high speed simulation of broad-scale traffic based on a variety of driving behavior models.

The new simulator is designed to fetch multiple driving behavior models and vehicle attributes extracted from the results of driving simulation test conducted in virtual space. Then, by utilizing the information on road networks and traffic regulations, the simulator can reportedly simulate in detail the traffic situation on a scale of several million units of vehicles.

In October 2007, a pilot program was carried out in Kyoto to block private vehicles from the area between Shijo Kawaramachi and Shijo Karasuma so that the amount of traffic was monitored when only public transportation vehicles and pedestrians were on the road. The comparison between the measurement result and the simulation result obtained by using the Mega Traffic Simulator reportedly showed that the Simulator has an excellent reproducibility.

Motoyuki Ooishi, Nikkei Electronics


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