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Wireless data exchange between smart traffic lights and vehicles is progressing - it is now being tested for the first time with European-wide standards in Finland

Published on 16.3.2023

Fintraffic's Road Traffic Management is testing wireless data exchange between smart traffic lights and vehicles for the first time with European-wide standards in Finland. The aim is that data will be transferred from traffic lights directly to vehicles, vehicle navigation systems or other terminal devices in the future so that road users can improve the economy of their driving style and, thus, also traffic emissions with their own actions.

“The digitalisation of traffic opens up opportunities for us to take the safety, fluency and environmental friendliness of road traffic to a whole new level. The development of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), i.e. how road traffic infrastructure and vehicles interact with each other in the future, plays a key role in this. The ongoing development of wireless data exchange between smart traffic lights and vehicles is one concrete example of how the data obtained from the infrastructure can be used to serve road users in real time. This, in turn, lays the foundation for even more defensive driving where the traffic lights provide drivers with input on how to approach the traffic lights so that the driving style would be as economical and low-emission as possible”, explains Olli Rossi, Head of Unit from Fintraffic’s Road Traffic Management.

Fintraffic’s development project, which focuses on data transmission between traffic lights and vehicles, is currently analysing first phase traffic light equipment testing to verify that the technical systems and operating principles of the various traffic lights support European-wide standards. The first pilots between traffic lights and cars will already be tested in the coming summer.

“We have been testing traffic light operation and data transmission with European-wide standards determined by C-Roads (ETSI and ISO) together with the City of Tampere and our partners Swarco Finland and Normivalaistus over the last few months. The results have been encouraging and it seems likely that we can largely utilise the existing equipment stock. The next step is to pilot interaction between traffic lights and cars in the summer in different junctions and end-user applications,” continues Olli Rossi.

Fintraffic's development project focusing on data transfer between traffic lights and vehicles is part of the Nordic Way3 project complex, which is a 5-year EU-supported Nordic project promoting road traffic automation. The aim of the project is to develop smart, cross-border transport logistics solutions and especially C-ITS solutions (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems) suitable for urban environments in Nordic conditions. The Nordic Way3 project is linked to the EU Commission’s strategy where networked vehicles, the driver’s ability to anticipate and accurate and even faster information exchange increase safety. From Finland, the project parties are Fintraffic, the leader of the project Traficom, the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, and the cities of Helsinki, Tampere and Vantaa.

The development of cooperative intelligent transport systems is part of Fintraffic's developing traffic strategy, where Finland aims for the smoothest, safest and most environmentally friendly traffic in the world. Road traffic cooperative service (C-ITS service) is a service in which a networked or interacting vehicle is wirelessly connected to other vehicles, infrastructure or other environment. The services automatically warn of a dangerous situation or condition, such as an obstacle on the road or a slippery roadway. The service can also provide information the purpose of which is to improve the flow of traffic and facilitate mobility.