How can you encourage drivers to use an ‘eco-friendly’ route? Landscape and Environment Management students Jordin Bijstra, Sebastiaan de Jongh and Eline van der Borg have the answer with Smooth Traffic Management. Sebastiaan: “In current navigation systems you can choose either the fastest or shortest route. We need an extra button. With Smooth Traffic Management you can choose an environmentally conscious route. This route takes different factors into account, like road safety, air quality and noise pollution.”
The navigation system is designed with a ‘target group code’, determined by four characteristics of the driver: gender, age, driving experience and driving motive. Each driver gets a unique design of the navigation system based on his or her characteristics. The interface adapts to each type of user.
‘What does ‘environmentally conscious’ or eco-friendly mean?
Eline: “Our navigation system responds to noise pollution, air quality and traffic safety. For example, it avoids areas where there are many children. This is relevant to parents, who can put the safety of their children first. We focus on different target groups. Who is sensitive to which incentive? One target group is sensitive to time, the other more to pollution or traffic safety. The environmentally conscious route takes all these preferences into account.”
How did you come up with the idea? In a traffic jam?
Eline: “I travel a lot by car, every time I wondered why there is no environmentally conscious route. Via the Green Juniors projects of Inholland Delft and engineering firm Antea Group, our client, we had the opportunity to work on this. ”Antea Group came up with the concept. Sebastiaan: “We were triggered to work on a mobility problem. Even without a drivers license you experience traffic problems. Biking to school, for example, you pass very busy intersections and roads. With our research around Smooth Traffic Management, we came up with a solution.”
The students find it important that Antea Group is also the client. Jordin: “The Antea Group is one of the largest consulting firms in the world. Their people have expertise in mobility, sustainability and environmental issues. This makes Smooth Traffic Management a good example of an integrated research project. You can learn a lot from this.”
There are four reasons to choose for the environmentally conscious route, right?
Sebastiaan: “That’s right. Firstly, the economy is picking up, you can see that on the roads in Holland. Furthermore, people are more aware of sustainability. We want to have a positive impact on the world. That’s why now is a good time to introduce this product to the market. The third reason is self-driving cars. They have a built-in navigation system that’s more and more innovative and sustainable. Having the option to choose an eco-friendly route connects well. And finally: we are Dutch and we always want to save money. In the longer term, an environmentally conscious route saves money for both society and individuals.”
How does the ‘target group code’ work exactly?
Sebastiaan: “We took age and gender into account. Women are more driven by feeling. Men are more focussed on facts. Women like to receive a message at the end of their journey, like: “you’ve made the road a lot safer. We also take age-related characteristics into account. Your vision deteriorates with age. So for older drivers we use a bigger font in the navigation system for example. Or we use voice commands. We also look at driving experience. People with a lot of experience pay less attention to road signs, for example. We take all of this into account in the system.”
How is the collaboration in the group?
Jordin: “It’s going very well. It’s just the three of us, so keeping in touch is a bit easier compared to working in larger groups. Sometimes you also need to have the guts to stand out. And do things slightly differently than others. “Sebastiaan: “I’ve learned to go the extra mile to stand out more.” Eline: “We complement each other very well. Everyone has their own qualities, which makes us stronger as a group. I’m good at design and visualizing our idea. Jordin knows how to bring our idea under the attention of other people. Sebastiaan is good at influencing behavior and making information concrete. ”
What does the future of Smooth Traffic Management hold?
Sebastiaan: “This is a great example of an Inholland project with different students working on different stages of the project. The Antea Group commissioned this project. Every step of the way you come across a new problem. First we had to find out what an environmentally conscious route looks like. We solved this problem. The next step was to investigate how people can use the system. At the moment we’re focussing on the visuals. And in the future we will need to consider marketing. This way, the project goes from one group of Inholland students to the next.”
What will you feel when you’re able to use the route for the first time?
Eline: “Definitely a sense of relief. Traffic is getting busier, the eco-friendly route will play an important role in this. Sebastiaan: “I’m proud that I worked on something during my studies that I can really use.” Eline: “We need so much more than just the development of the product. People will need to know about the product and they will actually have to start using it. The challenge is to bring all expertise together.” Jordin: “I’ll first get my drivers license … ”
What tip do you have for students?
Sebastiaan: “Get to know each other. You work on projects together, so you need to know what strength each person has. Talk about it. And very important: aim for the same goal. Really working together makes you successful.” Eline: “And don’t forget to look around you. There is a lot going on in this area. Use it for your own benefit.”