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AI to predict future of transport

By Shannon Williams, Wed 26 May 2021

A new project plans to use artificial intelligence to predict traffic congestion in a bid to optimise traffic in larger cities and improve road safety. 

University of Melbourne's Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem brought together PeakHour Urban Technologies, the Victorian Department of Transport, and Telstra to create a large-scale AI application hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which can predict traffic conditions across Melbourne.

The project says it will be able to predict traffic congestion up to three hours ahead.

Transport engineering expert and AIMES director professor Majid Sarvi says the application can also optimise traffic signals for on-road vehicles, freight, and public transport such as buses and trams.

“The application observes the nature of traffic and figures out complex traffic patterns across the network through machine learning built into the technology,” Sarvi says.

“If we can upscale the application to provide more accurate prediction with machine learning and real-time data, it will soon be possible to substantially reduce delays in hotspots across Melbourne and many locations across the globe.”

Industry partner PeakHour Urban Technologies developed the application’s AI core engine that runs on AWS and powers the engine’s predictive capabilities.

AWS provides PeakHour Urban Technologies the scalability to ingest, store, and process large amounts of traffic data, the ability to adapt to an ever-changing transport network, and the breadth and depth of cloud services to support PeakHour Urban Technologies with its AI solutions.

PeakHour Urban Technologies founding CEO Omid Ejtemai says pioneering AI in forecasting real-time traffic lies at the heart of this effort. 

"We are using a multidisciplinary approach, combining deep knowledge of mobility with vast amounts of real-time data analytics to predict and optimise traffic in large cities,” he says.

The Victorian Department of Transport provided traffic data and insight to support the creation of the application.

Victorian Minister for Transport Ben Carroll who attended the project launch and said managing a complex transport network presents many real-time challenges.

“Not only does this world first technology help Victorians navigate congestion by predicting traffic patterns hours in advance, but it paves the way to the future of connected and autonomous vehicles,” says Carroll.

The project is an ongoing collaboration between University of Melbourne, PeakHour Urban Technologies, the Victorian Department of Transport, and Telstra, leveraging AWS.

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