The future is green…eCoMove green

Thinking Highways
By Julie Castermans April 29, 2014 11:38

The future is green…eCoMove green

Europe has little choice but to go down the path towards cooperative eco-mobility since every “business-as-usual” prediction seems to lead to an unsustainable future, with more or less severely restrained mobility for all, says Julie Castermans.

In 2010, a multi-disciplinary consortium of 32 partners from across Europe came together driven by a vision that the application of cooperative intelligent transport systems and services for energy efficiency in road transport could lead to a substantial reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Indeed this is a hot topic within Europe, and even more so now than in 2010, with the 95g CO2/km limit by 2020 recently voted by the European Parliament. Vehicle manufacturers and suppliers put a lot of effort in the development of more fuel efficient powertrains. However, the rate of improvement of new vehicles energy efficiency or traffic management systems through technological progress alone is not able to keep up with the growth in demand for mobility. More and more people want to travel freely in their personal car, while society’s demand for an ever-expanding range of goods keeps road freight traffic growing.

The potential of vehicle-to-X or cooperative technologies to achieve a greener mobility of goods and people is now unanimously recognized. Major carmakers are working on their own model of smart and connected car while the US Department of Transport wants to make them mandatory by 2017, all convinced of the benefits and potentially big impact they will have on safety, mobility and the environment.

Supported by a grant from the European Commission DG-CONNECT, this group of partners developed the eCoMove system, designed to tackle the inefficiencies that have the biggest impact on fuel consumption, namely those:

  • related to the vehicle and the driver (private and professional)
  • related to trip planning and routing (also specifically for freight logistics)
  • related to traffic control measures (influencing the way vehicles are driven through the network)

To tackle these inefficiencies in an integrated approach and reduce emissions more efficiently, eCoMove sub-systems are designed to target the planning, execution and post-trip phases of transport.

For private car drivers, this translates into pre-trip information on vehicle conditions leading to a negative effect on fuel consumption, but also eco-routing support based on available traffic state prediction. On the road, the driver receives information about traffic problems to avoid, guidance on the most energy-efficient route and smooth driving assistance to avoid stops at traffic signals. The route gets continuously recalculated by taking all available information into account.

Especially in urban environments, traffic congestion can have a severe impact on the daily operations of logistics fleets. An integration of traffic information into the planning and execution process provides an increase of planning reliability and reduces inefficiencies.

The back office tour planning system calculates the optimal start time and optimal route to minimize fuel consumption, based upon:

  • Order constraints (e.g. delivery time windows) and other restrictions such as low emission zones in urban areas
  • Fleet vehicles characteristics
  • depot/stop locations in service area
  • Traffic state prediction

Phases of play

During the trip execution phase, a strong interplay between, vehicle navigation and traffic management (traffic state and prediction) is needed to enable an efficient execution. By depending on the traffic situation, the back-office can send itinerary updates to the vehicle’s navigation system.

The post-trip phase places special attention to the evaluation of the driver’s and trip performances, both private and professional. It gives drivers an opportunity to look back and improve their behaviour on the longer term to sustain the positive effect.Fleet managers have a complete view on their drivers and teams and can use this support tool to manage action plans and incentives programmes to sustain the positive effects. Drivers could even be stimulated to compete with themselves and with other drivers through a sort of playful contest for the best eco-driving performance.

From the perspective of road operators and policy makers, cooperative traffic management and control optimises time and energy efficiency simultaneously. The performance of the road network as a whole can be improved without impairing drivers’ interests. Traffic states and emission models highlight bottlenecks and hotspots; route and park advice evenly distribute the load of the road network; speed and lane advice influence traffic flow dynamics. Improved traffic light control algorithms facilitate traffic better, based on its volume and vehicle characteristics.

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Thinking Highways
By Julie Castermans April 29, 2014 11:38