For many Yilan residents, the easiest and the quickest way to travel to Taipei and other parts of Taiwan is via Freeway No.5 and through Hsuehshan Tunnel. But the huge demand for the four-lane highway has resulted in heavy congestion, especially on the weekends.
For a quicker, safer way home for all Yilan people, we propose a different toll collection system based on the current traveling speeds on different segments of the highway, the slower the speed, the higher the toll rates, thus encouraging drivers to travel through alternative routes when the highway gets too crowded. When the speed on the highway falls below 30km/hr, we set up the toll rate to be as high as 12 times of the original! We believe this system can effectively reduce the amount of vehicles entering the highway whenever a congestion occurs, thus raising the overall travel speed on the highway.
What it does
We strive to come up with a solution that's not only feasible in theory, but also functions well in real life, so constructing an app for all android system users has always been our main goal in the project. After analyzing the traveler needs, we developed this solution app called "UWay". the The user can install UWay on their mobile phones and look for the traffic information of Freeway No.5 anywhere, anytime. Besides highway information, we also provide other traffic website links and traveling information of Yilan.
The UWay app has six main functions:
Road Condition Inquiry
Here, the app shows the synchronized traveling speed of six segment on Freeway No.5. The exact speed in km/hr is provided, with corresponding traffic status "smooth", "average", "congested".
Travel Time Estimation
The traveling time in each of the six segments is provided. The user can add up the total travel time based on the sections he/she will travel by clicking on the "checkbox"s of each segment.
Travel Cost Estimation
This function pre-calculate the travel fees on the six segments of freeway NO.5 according to the traffic fluctuation. We set the base toll rate at 1.2NTD/km, and the rate varies with the travel speed. The different rates are shown in the following:
Travel speed Number of times of the original rate
over 70km/hr X1
below 30km/hr X12
The system can also add up the total cost depending on the sections designated by on the user.
This part of the app provides the links of other websites containing traffic information all over Taiwan. This may be very useful if the driver decides to take alternative routes to Yilan.
This link will direct the user to the Yilan official tourism website, providing local transit information and other upcoming tourist events.
This is a feedback function for travelers to instantly report back to the system on the current traffic status or road incidents.
For further details please check out our demo video.
How We built it
We divide our team into two groups responsible for programming and promotion video editing/web page managing.
The app: developed by MIT app inventor 2.
Travel speed data: Government database.
App icon, menu icons: created through Illustrator and Photoshop.
Animation: created by Photoshop with timeline function.
App demonstration: operated on an android phone.
Post-production: Power Director 14.
Challenges I ran into
After we decide to reduce congestion traffic flow by raising the section toll rate, the first challenge we encountered is to determine the travel speed interval and the corresponding toll charge( how high should the charge get?). It took us a lot of discussion to finally set a 10km/hr interval and an increasing 2,3,5,7,12 times toll rates. Based on personal experiences, we all agree that the current toll fee is too low to force travelers to take different routes. A maximum 12 times of the original rate should be enough to compel most divers to take other roads.
The second big problem is the data source. We encounter difficulties trying to directly download the instant speed data from the National Freeway Bureau website, so instead we focus on the downloadable Freeway No.5 traffic data of April, May June of this year(2015). We analyse the data provided by 157 cameras over the three month period first by removing the false/unreasonable data and then averaging the data during the same hour of every day, and finally locating the cameras closest to the current toll gates and use their data as reference speeds. Overall, it was a very time-consuming process due to the large amount of data.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
As a group as students, we're very proud of the fact that we created the "UWay" app all by ourselves! And although there are several downloadable apps providing freeway traffic information and toll fee calculation, we are the first to develop an app that combines the two major functions!!!
What's next for Hsuehshan Tunnel Transformer
Although we are very proud of what we've done, there are still some possible improvements that can be worked on in the future:
Find a way to directly use the immediate speed data in the current app to increase accuracy.
Increase the functions of the app( future traffic prediction, alternate routes advise...).
Thank you for your time and we hope you support our project~!!!