Malaysia builds smart traffic system in its Silicon Valley equivalent

Malaysia is testing out a traffic management system in the town of Cyberjaya, which is a test bed for smart city innovation

Malaysia is running a trial of smart city technologies by building a smart traffic management system in Cyberjaya town, the country’s equivalent of Silicon Valley.

This smart system, first mentioned in Malaysia’s National Internet of Things (IoT) Strategic Roadmap which aims to drive IoT implementation, is designed to enable better traffic management.

In addition to being the IT capital of Malaysia, Cyberjaya is also a key test bed of smart city technology for the Federal Government of Malaysia. Cyberview Sdn Bhd, is the tech hub enabler that is driving the transformation of Cyberjaya into a Global Technology Hub.

Cyberview will be funding the smart traffic management system project in collaboration with Intelsec Sdn Bhd (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia Berhad) and will also be working with key stakeholders such as Majlis Perbandaran Sepang and Multimedia Development Corporation (MdeC). The first phase of the smart traffic management system project that covers Persiaran Multimedia will take four months and the system is expected to start operating in April 2016.

Mounted above the traffic lights are LTE-equipped controllers that run video cameras with analytic capabilities. The cameras analyse the traffic situation and intelligently direct traffic at the intersection to reduce waiting time at traffic lights.

Each camera node functions as a sensor in an IoT network, which wirelessly transmits the collected data, via the cloud, to a central Traffic Management Command Center, which has direct access to the traffic light controllers.

In contrast, the traditional infrastructure used for centralised traffic management system would typically include legacy connectivity and hard-wired data collection systems.

Smart city roadmap

“The installation of smart solutions for the first time in Cyberjaya also enhances the Living Lab proposition of using Cyberjaya as a test bed for new and innovative technologies. The project can be set as a benchmark to be followed by other smart city projects,” said Faris Yahaya, managing director of Cyberview.

Cyberview is implementing the smart traffic system, in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia (TM), through its wholly-owned subsidiary Intelsec.

After the pilot tests, the same system is likely to be rolled out to other Malaysian cities such as Kuala Lumpur, Penang and the Iskandar region in Johor Bahru, according to Gerald Wang, IDC Government Insights programme manager.

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He added that the deployment of the smart traffic system will improve the management between the various authorities, agencies, transport service providers and related parties to have a better understanding of traffic in Cyberjaya.

The rapid urbanisation in cities across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) means many are facing the challenge of transport and road congestion.

“This could be due to the failure of public transportation options or the inability of roads, parking and traffic management systems to keep up with a larger influx of vehicles. As a result, intelligent transportation systems will become more critical to enable the movement of residents,” said IDC’s Wang.

Besides Malaysia, Singapore has also harnessed technology and data for its Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Initiative. Some of the intelligent elements include an expressway monitoring and advisory system that alerts motorists to traffic accidents on major roads, and a GPS system installed in city taxis that monitors and reports on traffic conditions around the city.

The data collected from the various systems is sent back to the ITS operations control centre, which consolidates the data and provides the public with real-time traffic information.

Transforming Malaysia 

In terms of its smart city-related programmes, Malaysia has done well, relative to other Asean nations (with the exception of Singapore), with regards to social welfare, critical infrastructure and economic internationalisation initiatives, said Wang.

“While there is still much to be done to transform Malaysia [to developed nation status], it has done rather well based on its submissions to our Asia-Pacific Smart City Evolution Index,” added Wang. “However, the strong momentum for digital transformation and change needs to be sustained.”

Frost & Sullivan estimates the IoT market in Asean to be valued at US$1.68bn in 2015, and expects it to grow by 35% a year to reach US$7.53bn in 2020. In comparison, total Asia-Pacific (Apac) spending on IoT is forecast to be US$79bn by 2020.

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