ITS Japan: Probe Helps Traffic Information in Disaster Area

2011.03.28

(Date:28 Mar, 2011)

Japan’s recent record strong earthquake (magnitude of 9.0) and tsunami that hit the north – east part of the country on 11 March 2011 were the causes of much destruction in the area, as well as creating worsening troubles at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station. Whether blocked or prohibited, the local highly restricted road transport systems have disrupted various rescue and delivery activities in the disaster area.

To mitigate the situation, ITS Japan, in collaboration with auto manufactures Honda, Nissan, Toyota, and car-navigation manufacturer Pioneer, has made accessible a traffic road map that became available for use on 19 March. The collaboration further opened the probe information to the public, so as to enable vehicle accessible roads in the disaster region to be mapped correctly (for example, roads where vehicles were able to pass are shown in blue).  The traffic road map will also soon be available on Google’s website “Google Crisis Response”.

Information for the map is collected from the companies’ service members on an anonymous basis as part of their telematics services in on-board car navigation systems. In order to enhance the data collection speed for the ongoing emergency activities, ITS Japan works in integrating the information collected from the sources which is then separately distributed, while the map makes it possible for users to be better informed about the traffic situation that is updated daily.

This marks the first time in the ITS industry where information from four different sources is integrated at a single point to provide better and more accurate information services to users. ITS Japan aims to continue updating the road map on a daily basis.

Furthermore, ITS Japan is encouraging freight operators to also utilise the traffic road map in their delivery planning of relief supplies, particularly in view of the organisation’s support of more efficient logistics that they believe will accelerate recovery in the affected area.