The City of Helmond is home to around 90.000 inhabitants and is located in the South‐East of the Netherlands, a region also known as the Brainport region. This Brainport region consists of leading high‐tech industries, amongst them many companies that are active in the automotive/mobility sector and many innovative SMEs.
The Dutch city hosts the Automotive Campus with leading institutions and companies in the automotive and mobility sector and as such plays the role of physical hotspot where the automotive world and mobility world meet. Based on their mobility policy, the city has played and will play an active role as a Living Lab for smart mobility solutions over the coming years, with a clear “can-do” approach.
Because of turning the sound policy base into real actions, the City of Helmond was awarded the 2011 European iMobility award and is nominated for the 2017 ITS Hall of Fame award for local authorities.
CoEXist use cases in Helmond
Signalised urban traffic junctions in urban environment with various modes of transport
Since Helmond is both an automotive and a cycling city, this use case is assessing the impact of automated vehicles in mixed traffic situations, such as encounters with cyclists, but also pedestrians and trucks. The Vissim models assess the repercussions of CAVs in these mixed environments around signalised intersections. Additionally, a closer look is taken at possibilities to change the traffic light phases, by connecting the Vissim models with an external traffic signal simulator. The assessment aims to provide further inputs to the city’s strategy ‘Mobility Vision 2016-2025’, which aims to provide a sustainable and safe traffic system, promoting bicycle and smart mobility.
CoExist tests with low level CAVs are showing that average travel time and delays increase for CAVs, since they comply with speed limits and have a conscious behaviour. If congestion and therefore travel time increases, cyclists and pedestrians are also impacted negatively, because the adaptive signal control of the intersections favours vehicles. Only for high penetration rates and more advanced CAVs, results are comparable or better than the baseline situation with no CAVs.
Highway and interurban zones
The second use case is located in the transition zone between the highway A270 between Eindhoven and the urban road area of Helmond. Both environments obviously have very different speed limits and traffic situations. The focus is put on the safety aspects at the junction at the end of the highway, where the highway changes into an interurban area. Especially exploring and evaluating the impact of providing Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) to the vehicles compared to non-equipped vehicles gives very valuable insights for the traffic managers in Helmond.
A possibly unique result of this scenario is the opportunity to have a higher saturation of vehicles once platooning is enabled. “Platooning” describes several CAVs, which drive in an automated convoy. It shows that once the penetration rate is rising and CAV’s become more sophisticated, positive effects will be reached in this traffic platoon.