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Evil Sid

traffic app

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seems the council is going to be going high tech with traffic management.

 

http://www.warrington-worldwide.co.uk/2017/02/25/smart-transport-scheme-wins-300000-grant/

 

However will it be a good thing or will it be a way for the council to keep tabs on people.

 

The app will be linked to the traffic management centre "The scheme will use Bluetooth technology to provide a real time communication link between drivers and Warrington’s Urban Traffic Management and Control system. This will allow more effective control of the key junctions."

 

or in effect spy on where you are. (well if you have a smart phone that is.) It also begs the question are they encouraging people to break the law by using their mobiles phones whilst driving to access the information?

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Where it says their new App will use 'Bluetooth' does that mean to use it you would need a car with a stereo system that uses bluetooth so it can automatically communicate with your smartphone without you having to look at your phone?  Will words come out of your car stereo saying 'accident/traffic on x road or x motorway...town is gridlocked' or perhaps it means congested roads will be shown on your car display (new cars always seem to have built in displays for sat nav etc)   

Sorry if they are daft question but I don't get how they mean it will work :oops:  

It doesn't say if the App will be free either.

I guess if it helps some motorists though then it might be a good thing but wow at a cost of £300k seems very expensive as surely an APP, social media and interactive websites are not very costly so I suspect a lot of the cost must be for the on-street information displays they also mention.  Mmm to read the on street signs means we will already be on the roads and possibly stuck in the traffic reading them :lol:

 

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The bluetooth bit is so the council traffic management people know where you are and where you are going, or not as the case may be. 8):shock:8)

 

The app itself will probably just give text information and will more likely be an integrated version of the bus is late because app they have. That being the case will have to pull over to the side of the road and turn off your engine to access the app in order to comply with the law on using a mobile whilst driving. But at least you will know that the reason for the congestion is all the people stopping to use their mobiles to find out what the cause of the congestion is. :huh::blink::roll:

 

The app may be free but if so will be hard to use as there will no doubt be many adverts for accident claims popping up whilst it is active. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Dizzy,

 

"Tailored transport apps have clearly gained some traction with road users of Warrington and

our proposed free to download app will present the following initial functionality:...." on Page 16 of the application

which can be found on the link:

 

https://www.warrington.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/11654/full_application_with_appendices.pdf

 

The Government requires that the information is published but the Council only seem to let Mr Google know where it is.

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Thanks for the link Confused52 it's very interesting and informative and having just had a quick read though it's all making more sense to me now.  On paper it does sound quite good to be honest but whether it will be in reality is something that will only be seen once it's up and running.

The bluetooth bit is making more sense too now I know there will be bluetooth corridors which will automatically pick up a cars/phones bluetooth signal/location data.

I can't help but wonder how accurate the collection of data will really be though re congestion on roads and number of vehicles etc as it will only pick up cars which do have bluetooth fitted or enabled.

For example we have 4 vehicles at out home all of which are used daily (yes I know that's a lot of vehicles for one house but needs must) but none of them have bluetooth so the system would never pick any of our vehicles up as we travel along Warrington's roads.  There must be a heck of a lot of other vehicles on our roads like ours too.

If the bluetooth corridors also work by picking up smart phone bluetooth signals well that wont pick us up either as the 3 of us always have our phones bluetooth switched off for security and to save battery power.

I guess we could switch it on on our smart phones though....but then would the councils bluetooth corridors pick us up when we are walking down any of the corridors and count us as 'traffic' ?

My mind works in strange ways....I will go and have another read of the document now. with more questions and observations to follow no doubt :oops::lol: :lol:

Thanks again :D

 

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Dizzy,

 

The App seems to send GPS locations from the phone via Bluetooth to the transceivers in the corridors so blue tooth in the car is not needed. However your point about battery usage is most valid as GPS is very power hungry, much more so than Bluetooth itself.  My other concern is that using the app will get you penalty points just for looking at it in stationary traffic. I am not understanding something!

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My other concern is that using the app will get you penalty points just for looking at it in stationary traffic

Not if you turn your engine off.

 

Which then makes me wonder about those cars that automatically stop the engine when stationary and start it up again when you press the accelerator. In theory you can use a mobile phone if the car is stopped as the engine will be turned off. Wonder how many solicitors will argue that one in court.

 

 

It’s been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, or while stopped with the engine on, since December 2003. from the AA site.

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Dizzy,

 

The App seems to send GPS locations from the phone via Bluetooth to the transceivers in the corridors so blue tooth in the car is not needed. However your point about battery usage is most valid as GPS is very power hungry, much more so than Bluetooth itself.  My other concern is that using the app will get you penalty points just for looking at it in stationary traffic. I am not understanding something!

Just as I though I was understanding it all...... :lol: :lol:

 

So if you have bluetooth turned OFF on your phone then presumably it can't send GPS data to the councils bluetooth corridor network for their 'results database' even if you do have their APP installed then so there again the results may be misleading?....or does the APP simply over-ride your bluetooth settings and turns it on without your knowledge.  I guess it would say what access to your phone and settings it can use and change though IF you read the APPS small print on downloading.  Do most people actually read the small print about what access they are allowing.  I do which is why I rarely use downloadable apps on my smartphone.

 

Saying that I must have allowed Google Maps App (pre-installed on my smartphone) at some stage as whenever the traffic is bad in Warrington I get an picture type message alert to click on with an interactive map image showing all the congested roads in my area marked in red.  I guess google must use GPS to pick up where I am and my living location.  Maybe the council should have linked in with that.

 

I never have my phone near me in the car though so there is never any temptation for me to look when I am driving as things can wait and I'd rather get home alive than run the risk of an accident caused by a split second lack of concentration from looking at my phone.screen. 

 

I agree with you and yes I suspect many who can't resit looking and/or checking for messages when driving will fall foul of the system and receive penalty points or worse :( 

 

Re the council document you posted a link to earlier, that says "Bluetooth installation is becoming standard within new vehicles, which, with data from mobile phones,

will provide an exponential data capture rate from now on."  so clearly they will be using a combination of ways to capture and collate their data via vehicles fitted with Bluetooth and I guess cars fitted with inbuilt satnav ie GPS...and via text message and from bluetooth/gps data from peoples smart mobiles too.

 

So my next question...how will their data collection method and server differentiate between signals from a cars inbuilt bluetooth and/or it's gps and a mobile phones bluetooth and/or gps if both are 'travelling' along in the same.  Will it know that this is the same journey being carried out by one vehicle on the road or class it as two possible vehicles?

 

What about a bus full of school kids all with their mobiles switched on (you know what kids are like) will the signals be obvious enough to show they are all travelling along in the same ONE vehicle or will it just see it as say 30 signals = 30 individuals and possibly vehicles all travelling the same route re congestion?

 

Oh gosh my head is hurting now...there are just so many if's and buts.....I wonder if the developers of the software and also the app would mind giving me a ring tomorrow talk over the finer details before I drive myself and you all insane  :lol:  

 

Night night...I doubt I will sleep though for pondering :wacko:

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It’s been illegal to use a hand held mobile phone while driving, or while stopped with the engine on, since December 2003. from the AA site.

EEK I thought it was ok as long as you pulled over, stopped and parked (hand brake on etc). I never knew you had to actually turn your engine off too :shock: :shock:

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know this from a family member being given a fine for using his mobile whilst his engine was running.

 

He was stopped at lights and one of the children on his bus started to have a fit. Whilst his escort was seeing to the child he called the emergency number for advice but was spotted by a passing police car. Result was he was told to take the child to hospital, luckily he was at the bridge on froghall lane, so not far to go. The police car stopped and the officer got out as my brother drove off to the hospital. The police car then followed with lights and sirens and proceeded to write out a fine whilst my brother was getting the child into A&E. When he came out he was presented with the fine and only for the fact that he had to get the other kids into school stopped him from being arrested.

 

Needless to say he contested the fine and had it squashed due to the circumstances but was cautioned that he should turn his engine off next time. His reply was that he would next time and wait for emergency services to arrive no matter how big a traffic jam he caused.

 

So remember even if you are outside your house if you are in the car with the engine running don't use the phone.

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I would think all this high tech trickery will cause confusion & traffic jams all over town,more so than there are already, & will  create rat runs & potential accident black spots by drivers using unfamiliar roads.

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The question you need to ask is what about the traffic that does not use the corridor. As you say people will be using rat runs which will mean that at some point all the side roads will be full and the traffic management scheme will have information that the traffic is flowing normally as their app will not show up outside the corridors.

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Rat runs already exist, some resorting to using back alleyways, only to find someone else   has blocked it by parking; bit like the Italian Job  !

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The question you need to ask is what about the traffic that does not use the corridor. As you say people will be using rat runs which will mean that at some point all the side roads will be full and the traffic management scheme will have information that the traffic is flowing normally as their app will not show up outside the corridors.

 

The application says the outcomes are:

 

- A greater understanding of the current network performance,

- Improved ability to create strategies to influence the way traffic flows,

- Implementation of strategies to target pinchpoints, adapt signal timings and inform the travelling public

 

The main gains will probably be in adapting the signal timings and that only affects the main corridors. If rat-runs are full I don't suppose the council will know or care. A lot of our problems are caused by external events such as the M6 and this should pick up changes in behaviour and help to stop them escalating (well that will be the theory). The main communication with drivers will probably be the Variable Message Signs, which might actually get used to tell us about traffic issues in real time instead of mindless and unchanging messages. The phone app should be used to make decisions before you leave home or work rather than on the move. The thing about Warrington roads is that they close off effective alternative routes e.g. Hilden Road, Smith Drive. I will not worry about the rat-runs.

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And don't forget the hazards of unfamiliar drivers following locals then reprogramming their sat navs on the move.

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£300,000 that's a lot of dosh for some technology that's a standard background function of virtually every off the shelf taxi package. (Our basic system costs £3,200 btw!) Throw away 90% of the software and just use what's left to track the routes of tens of thousands of vehicles accurately in real time without the need for any local Bluetooth infrastructure. It really is that simple but if there's money to burn then I suppose it doesn't matter.

 

 

Oh and btw. Both the Bluetooth and GPS functions on modern devices are so low powered these days that the power difference is almost un-measurable. A running app that's permanently connected to the net though will expect use up the battery in about 6/8 hours if the power lead isn't connected. Data usage for vehicle location with an update rate of 15 seconds is about 1.2 megabytes or less per 12 hour day. 

 

 

Bill :)

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So will this app allow a pedestrian to arrive at a controlled crossing and not have to wait until all the people sat in their comfy cars to go by before the lights change in his/her favour? just asking for a friend.

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Bill,

 

I guess the system you talk about uses GPS and PMR and for taxis the cost of giving location information has obvious value to the users. However the council are relying on altruism on behalf of the public and therefore I think they want a system that is cost free to the information providers. By inquiring at traffic lights the passing cars give IDs for free and the ones in car stereos and hand-free systems will always respond I would guess. I also suspect that interfacing with scoot will be a bit specialised unless they use swivel chair management.

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PMR went out with the arc and virtually all taxis these days use a smartphone app connected on a machine to machine data network. This is similar to how the traffic lights are controlled, gas and electric meters work and even most modern cars have built in data connectivity these days. Bluetooth is extremely limited in terms of communication range and scope for future development and I would guess that the costly infrastructure will be obsolete before this project is even complete. 

 

From a cost point of view I doubt many people would begrudge paying a couple of pence worth of data charges if in return they were provided with helpful valid real time local data. 

 

 

Bill :)

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One of the problems i will have is that my phone,although having bluetooth, does not do apps. (doesn't even do mms) So the system would be of no use to me and  as i do not have bluetooth enabled on my phone i would not show up on the system anyway.

 

Also have a touch of paranoia about what information they actually get from your phone, how it is stored and particularly who has access to it. For example if you were speeding along the bluetooth corridor, (don't laugh it could happen given the right conditions, such as at two in the morning before there is any traffic on the road) then they could,by plotting times against position, prove this. whether they could prove exactly who you were is another thing and i would suppose depend on what your bluetooth code was.( if it is the default code then it would be almost impossible to prove it was you and not some other person who had not bothered to change the default code on their phone.)

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PMR went out with the arc and virtually all taxis these days use a smartphone app connected on a machine to machine data network. This is similar to how the traffic lights are controlled, gas and electric meters work and even most modern cars have built in data connectivity these days. Bluetooth is extremely limited in terms of communication range and scope for future development and I would guess that the costly infrastructure will be obsolete before this project is even complete. 

 

From a cost point of view I doubt many people would begrudge paying a couple of pence worth of data charges if in return they were provided with helpful valid real time local data. 

 

 

Bill :)

and yet the taxi operator will always tell you that your taxi is "just around the corner and will be with you in a few minutes" :)

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