Alexandra Davis <>

Smart Urban Mobility: SPIE integrates traffic prediction in the Val-de-Marne region

Published on 21 July 2020

Paris, July 21, 2020 – SPIE CityNetworks, a French subsidiary of SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, has been selected by the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne to deploy a solution to allow the optimisation of travel conditions and to serve all citizens, regardless of their chosen mode of transport. This trial is being carried out in conjunction with the consortium Mobilité Intégrée en Ile-de-France (M2i), which works to achieve optimised mobility through innovative digital solutions.

Predicting traffic to better regulate it

SPIE CityNetworks, a subsidiary of SPIE France that offers dedicated services in relation to local development, energy & digital networks and transport & mobility networks, is working on installing a traffic regulation solution with integrated traffic prediction. This solution arose in response to the Departmental Council of Val-de-Marne observation the limits of a traffic management system based on real-time analysis only. Which, despite the use of many sensors, does not make it possible to anticipate the decisions necessary to limit road saturation and thus peaks in pollution.

By integrating traffic prediction into the decision-support algorithms, SPIE CityNetworks relies on a traffic regulation based not on actual traffic but in anticipation of it, 15 to 20 minutes in advance”, states Jonathan Robert, Business Manager within the subsidiary. “This is a new technological approach that combines technical expertise and predictability. This trail will continue until the end of the year, to allow a better assessment of its effectiveness in the field.

An innovative approach in the transport sector is very important for the Val de Marne. As partners of SPIE CityNetworks, we can jointly test new ideas to reduce overall congestion in our department, while at the same time reducing pollution. This innovative approach with a private-sector partner allows us to provide ever improving services for users”, states Christophe Reyes, Section Head for the Val de Marne department.

The trail has been installed at a dozen intersections in the Val-de-Marne and may eventually be extended to all of the department’s major roads.

An advantageous solution, both technically and economically

The first distinctive feature of this solution is its deployment framework. While traffic prediction is widely installed and controlled on motorways, its use remains limited in urban environments. This is a result of the great degree of complexity due to the extensive road network to be taken in account.

The second distinctive feature stems from the design of the solution. SPIE CityNetworks is at the forefront of intelligent mobility management and is developing an original integrated approach for M2i that is based on combining two strategies that are generally used separately:

- The adaptive strategy: very widespread in the United Kingdom, this approach uses fully adaptive traffic algorithms to allow changes in the duration of the green traffic light in accordance with traffic density. It requires a very high number of sensors installed at intersections (20,000 to 25,000 sensors on average for 2,000 traffic light controllers).

- The plan selection strategy: less dynamic and widely used in France, this approach involves studying the nature of the traffic upstream and applying the correct traffic light plan in accordance with calendar data or planned events.

The trial carried out by SPIE CityNetworks makes it possible to combine the two approaches to get the most out of them.

Furthermore, the economic model used for the solution is attracting attention from the regions as it makes it possible to use information already available in the systems, without any need to increase the number of sensors. In view of the sensor maintenance costs, this is a considerable economic advantage.

This project has been driven by the success of two other public-private consortia dedicated to intelligent urban mobility, in which SPIE CityNetworks took part: Optimod’Lyon, a project aimed at improving the mobility of private individuals, professionals and freight in an urban environment, and its Europe-wide variation, OptiCities, which is also aimed at improving urban mobility through innovative ITS (Intelligent Transport System) services.