||The demand on the freeway system has increased dramatically in the last years, while the capacity of the system has stayed pretty much the same. The deal with this ever-increasing load on the transportation system is difficult, because the straightforward option, building more freeways, is prohibitively expensive. In the other hand, the capacity of a freeway can be increased by a relatively inexpensive amount of intelligence, called Intelligent Transportation Systems.
The main objective of a traffic management system is to improve the efficiency, capacity and safety of the road. The traffic management system is comprised of different detectors which permit the capture of data, a control centre where the decisions, after an anomalous situation is detected, are taken, and finally a set of devices that allow to communicate these decisions to the drivers.
The capture data systems are in charge of the measure of speed, flow and density of the highway. Then, this information is received in the Control Centre where it is treated by means of algorithms in order to detect anomalous situations. There are different types of technologies like loop detectors, magnetometers, CCTV, Radar, infrared and laser detectors with which, the data can be obtained in order to update a current map that shows the status of the different stretches of the road and it is also gathered in a database to simulate concrete situations in order to analyze them.
In the Control Centre the traffic management is carried out, different decisions are taken with the maximum serviceability, safety and environmental care. There are different control techniques like ramp metering and speed control, but the most used is the information provided to the drivers (times of trip, road status...). The Control Centre can expand the capacity of the road by means of different strategies like reverse lanes, lanes in opposite sense to the habitual one and additional lanes.
There are many different technologies of information applied to the transport. Besides the permanent signalling, there are also the radio reports, Radio Data System (RDS), Variable Message Signs (VMS), internet, satellite navigation systems. By means of internet and radio reports, pre-travel information can be sent to the users in order that he/she can choose the optimum itinerary and hour to start the trip. In the other hand, the VMS and RDS permit to send information to the driver to avoid that more vehicles enter in a congestion zone.
A brief study of the Ring of Mataró has been carried out, taking as example other experiences in different European cities. A main view of the system that should be installed is performed, as well as a cost-benefit study which justifies the implementation. All the benefits obtained are a result of the reduction of situations of congestion which implies a reduction in travel delay time, fuel and oil consumption, maintenance and repairs and automobile emissions, as well as the reduction of accidents.