author: Joost Laurens Boehle
published in: April 2007
appeared as: Master of Science thesis
Man-machine interaction group
Delft University of Technology
PDF (5043 KB)


People driving by car from point A to point B usually try to reach their destination as soon as possible. Along the route, however they can experience all sorts of delays. Unforeseen traffic jams, road maintenance and lack of route knowledge on the side of the driver are some of the most common problems that cause delays. Modern day navigational systems like TomTom are able to help the driver reach his destination as soon as possible by calculating a route that in theory represents the shortest route in time from point A to point B. More elaborate versions of navigational systems are even able to receive information about traffic jams on major highways and provide alternative routes to minimize possible delays.
In theory, a driver using a modern day navigational system should reach his destination as soon as possible. However, there are two hiatuses in the service provided by navigational systems. The most obvious is that while a navigational system is able to reroute drivers around traffic jams on major highways it has no knowledge about traffic jams in cities. This could lead to a situation where the driver is able to reach the outskirts of a city without delays only to find that on the last leg of his journey he is plagued by inner city traffic jams that his navigational system cannot avoid due to lack of information about the traffic conditions in cities. The second hiatus occurs when a driver has reached his destination and finds all parking places taken. His navigational system is unable to assist him in finding a parking place and therefore the driver is forced to drive around in the vicinity of his destination in search of a place to park his car. While this is not only frustrating to the driver, it also causes delays for other drivers. This is because a driver who is actively searching for a parking place is not fully committed to navigating his car through traffic and therefore hampers the flow of other traffic.
The delay experienced by one driver is not significant in a city where thousands of vehicular movements occur every day. However, when adding up all the delays experienced by all drivers in the city the cost in terms of economical damage quickly add-up. The department of economic affairs of the Netherlands has estimated that the costs of traffic jams, in terms of economical damage sustained for the whole of the Netherlands, exceed 1.2 billion euro's for the year 2006. The low accessibility of a city also has a negative impact on the economical climate.
Businesses that are faced with low accessibility experience a host of problems that range from delivery problems - most significant for retailers - to traffic jam frustrated and exhausted employees. These businesses will then be more likely to opt for relocation to other areas where their accessibility is increased in order to minimize their share of economical damages sustained.
The current solutions proposed by governmental agencies and city councils however do not aim at providing the navigational system of the driver with sufficient information in order to optimize his route to his destination. Instead these solutions opt for the construction of large parking facilities on the periphery of cities in the hope that drivers choose to park their vehicle there and use the public transport services in order to reach their destination somewhere in the city. While this solution could alleviate the inner city traffic pressures, they introduce the hassle and uncertainty of traveling via one or more forms of public transportation.
To alleviate these problems we propose another solution in the form of a City Based Parking and Routing System (CBPRS). A CBPRS that would constantly gather up-to-date information about the current traffic conditions and the status of parking places within the city could provide the driver with the information needed to reach his destination without significant delays. The effect of the routing information provided by such a system could have positive consequences not only to those who actively use the system but possibly also to those who do not participate by distributing traffic flows more evenly over the entire city. The CBPRS is described in detail in the following section.

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