Students develop traffic control software

Two Auckland University computer systems engineering students, June Zee Ming Ip and Peter Kin Fai Tsang, have spent up to 20 hours a week for the past seven months developing a software application designed to ease traffic flow.

Two Auckland University computer systems engineering students, June Zee Ming Ip and Peter Kin Fai Tsang, have spent up to 20 hours a week for the past seven months developing a software application designed to ease traffic flow.

The two final year students' project involved integrating existing traffic control methods, which Kin Fai Tsang, did and setting up an interface, which was Zee Ming Ip's job.

"With this software you can compare data from the street and use it to simulate traffic control."

They used traffic figures from the Auckland City Council website - using traffic sensors to get the numbers had been the original aim, but it proved too expensive.

The pair have written an abstract about the project which will be presented at a conference in Japan in January and full publication of a report on it may follow.

The project has the potential to be commercialised, but for that to happen, more control methods would need to be added to the programme, Kin Fai Tsang says.

Their supervisor, software engineering lecturer Dariusz Kacprzak, says that of existing traffic control methods, some work best in heavy traffic and others with lighter vehicle numbers.

"The idea of the project was to build software which can simulate and analyse all methods accurately."

Features of the simulation process include gap detection and a network control to allow lights to turn green simultaneously so cars get a clear run.

The two students say doing the project was satisfying and Kacprzak says it was a good taste of the real world of software engineering.

"It was the first time they faced an engineering problem and had to tackle it from the beginning."

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