Circle symbol

Focus on use case site: Helmond

Posted: 06.12.2018
6 December 2018

The City of Helmond is a small city (90,000 inhabitants) in the South‐East of the Netherlands, a region also known as the Brainport Eindhoven region. This region consists of leading high‐tech industries, including many companies that are active in the automotive/mobility sector and many innovative SMEs.

Together with the city of Eindhoven, Helmond will host the 2019 European ITS Congress.With the theme: “Fulfilling ITS Promises”, connected & automated driving will be one of the main topics of the 2019 Congress.

Helmond in CoEXist

In the framework of CoEXist, Helmond hosts two use cases, which are strongly related to the innovative and Living Lab character of the city and which correspond to the specific mobility challenges of a cycling city like Helmond.

Signalised intersection including pedestrians and cyclists

In Helmond Verbonden – The Mobility Vision 2016-2025 (2016), Helmond points out that the city wants to provide a sustainable and safe traffic system in which the city promotes:

  1. The bicycle; the bicycle action plan aims at maximizing its use;
  2. Smart Mobility; leader in innovating in mobility.

These ambitions come together at an intersection. On the one hand, the city wants to unwind as much as possible (car) traffic on the main arterial using Smart Mobility (i.e. network control, C-ITS). The city also wants to improve the cross-over of the bicycle so that the bicycle remains an attractive means of transport or even more for the smaller distances. Helmond is a cycling city par excellence and wants to further develop that characteristic in the future. As the hometown of the Automotive Campus, Helmond is fully committed to maintaining its pioneering role in the field of Smart Mobility. Smart Mobility solutions may change the face of mobility considerably and Helmond likes to take the lead in this.

The main hypothesis is that with the introduction of CAVs, the performance of a signalized intersection will improve. Through a more efficient traffic flow, at least the same number of cars could be processed in a given time period (i.e. throughput), so that green time may be reallocated to cyclists and pedestrians. However, there is a risk that, at least for lower levels of automation and communication, the performance of the intersection is reduced due to the fact that CAVs may keep larger headways than human drivers for safety reasons.

The main questions that Helmond tries to answer with this use case in CoEXist are:

  • Can introducing CAVs lead to a more efficient traffic flow?
  • Is the performance of the intersection getting better because of a more efficient flow?
  • Is the impact dependent on the penetration rate of CAVs?
  • Is the impact dependent on the type of CAVs?
  • Is automation enough to produce benefits, or is there also a need of communication with the infrastructure (V2I)

Transition from interurban highway to arterial

The second use case is located in the transition zone between the interurban highway A270 and the urban road network. Each type of road has very different speed limits and traffic situations.

Speeding at crossings and at high speeds is a great risk for traffic safety. Severe accidents have fortunately not occurred yet. Additionally, with the introduction of connected and automated vehicles and with Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) applications, speeding and the risk of severe accidents may be further reduced. CAVs (with ISA-applications) may also provide a more homogeneous speed which could provide a reliable travel time and less delays for the total traffic. However, the effect could also be the opposite. A fraction of the population following the speed limit may cause highly heterogenous traffic, leading to increased risk of accidents and less reliable travel times.

Because of high volumes of commuters leaving and reaching Helmond, the peak hours are busy. The evening peak will be the focus of this use case due to the large traffic volumes in Helmond in the afternoon.

The main questions that Helmond tries to answer with this use case in CoEXist are:

  • Will there be less speeding due to the presence of CAVs?
  • Will the speed become more homogenous due to the presence of CAVs, and will it lead to a more efficient flow?
  • Will the performance of the traffic improve?
  • Will the travel time become more reliable with the presence of CAVs?
  • To what extend are the effects on traffic situation, safety and speed dependent on the penetration rate of CAVs?