The curb as a neuralgic point in traffic
The curb, referring to the area between road and bike or pedestrian paths, is an important space in urban traffic. It is used by a variety of road users in many different ways depending on the time of day.
But curbside space is limited. Currently, static curbside use is mostly regulated by traffic signs. Flexible use is only managed through time limits, e.g. for delivery zones. The evidence that this approach cannot meet all needs can be seen, for example, in the fact that second-row parking, although short-term but still illegal, is a lived practice.
But how can this data be recorded around the clock?
It would be too costly to track these areas manually, install sensors near all curbs, and not efficient to only track GPS-equipped vehicles at the curb.
Therefore, the Smart Mobility team at Fraunhofer FOKUS is developing a curbside screening solution that integrates diverse sensor sources to provide an accurate picture of the current road situation. For this purpose, the team uses data from:
- Existing sensors in streetlights, in the road, etc.
- smartphones of road users
- highly automated, networked vehicle fleets
- a specially developed app that can be used, for example, by buses or garbage collectors to document the road situation (see Shuttles&Co and KIS'M projects).
The data is compiled in the backend at the Fraunhofer Institute in compliance with data protection regulations. This creates a picture of the situation in real time that can be used to orchestrate the use of relevant spaces and prevent misuse.
Goal: Dynamic stopping zones
In designated curbside management zones, different road users will be able to book a free time slot based on the current curbside occupancy via an app for the needed duration and in a suitable size.
To ensure data protection, only information on which spaces are occupied is forwarded. Illegally parked vehicles are identified by comparing them with the registered license plates and can then be reported to the parking authorities, but without transmitting a specific license plate number.
Fraunhofer FOKUS will conduct initial tests in Berlin in 2024.