Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
Monitoring and Navigation Tools Keep Istanbul Traffic Moving
Istanbul is a popular gateway between Europe and Asia and is Turkey's largest city, with 16 million residents and 5 million registered vehicles. City officials are using GIS technology to provide residents and visitors with up-to-date traffic information to help them navigate this ancient yet modern destination.
Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality
City planners wanted to give drivers accurate technology for identifying the most efficient route and estimating travel time at any hour.
Istanbul's GIS team envisioned combining information from multiple sources and using it to create dynamic digital maps that would be useful for city planners and drivers.
Istanbul's Routing With Live Traffic system helps ensure that residents and visitors can enjoy the city's food and culture, natural environments, and urban diversions.
With about 16 million residents, Istanbul is Europe's most populated city. Nearly 6 million tourists visited in 2021, some of them sharing the roads with drivers of the city's 5 million registered vehicles. Movement through Turkey's largest city can be daunting for those pursuing its culture, history, and natural environments.
Residents have adapted to life in the nation's most beloved city—a gateway between Europe and Asia—with help from technology for monitoring traffic. Navigation tools are especially in demand during commuting hours and major events that draw large crowds. As a result, local officials are working to improve the monitoring and navigation systems that keep traffic moving and reduce carbon emissions and noise in the world's eighth most visited city, designated by the European Union as a capital of culture. The interactive digital maps and data analysis tools of geographic information system (GIS) technology are at the core of efforts to offer a near real-time view of traffic in Istanbul.
Officials at Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, known as IBB, decided the time had come to improve tools for traffic monitoring and navigation to prevent slowdowns, delays, and gridlock. IBB's system could calculate the distance from one point to another. However, the system was unable to consider how traffic conditions might extend travel time. Planners wanted to give drivers the tools they needed to plan a trip, identify the best route at any given time, and estimate the time it would take to reach their destination under current travel conditions.
IBB had access to rich and comprehensive traffic data from live cameras, sensors, annual traffic data, and other sources. This made it possible to analyze traffic patterns throughout the city, but not in real time. Creating a solution for calculating routes and travel time would require combining information from various sources.
Ultimately, the goal for planners was to keep residents and visitors focused on all the features that make Istanbul a world-class city while managing the inconveniences that come along with being such a sought-after destination. To accomplish this would require effectively monitoring traffic in real time, integrating historical traffic information, and finding the right tools for making the data available to the public.
IBB's planners began working with Esri technology in October 2021. Planners wanted to create location-aware traffic monitoring tools that use GIS technology as a foundation for assisting the public in navigating the city. The GIS team envisioned combining information from multiple sources and using it to create dynamic digital maps that would be useful for city planners and drivers.
The first and biggest task was to make two databases "talk" to each other. This called for careful mathematical calculations that had to be carried out flawlessly. For one of the calculations required, the seven days of the week were divided into 15-minute segments to align with new traffic data that is generated at those intervals. Planners merged historical and live traffic data using the ArcGIS Network Analyst extension in Esri's ArcMap application. IBB would input more than 300 million pieces of historical data on annual traffic patterns.
Traffic density data from the sensors would be combined with live traffic data with the help of a Python script. Traffic analysis could be carried out with the help of the routing service published on ArcGIS Server. Within IBB's ArcGIS Enterprise portal, routing analysis was also possible using a web map and points specified by the user.
With up-to-date road network data available, IBB's analysts could calculate shortest routes during testing. With the addition of live traffic data obtained from various sensors, the service became more reliable and valuable for users. Thanks to the updates, citizens can get up-to-date information to help them choose routes and calculate travel time based on speed per kilometer.
Unlike similar applications, IBB's new system integrates new information about decisions made by the local government that might require a change in navigation. Updates can be made quickly and seamlessly within the system and its maps. This includes changes to the names of streets and roads and rerouting around roads closed to traffic.
The new system, called Routing With Live Traffic, gives the people of Istanbul tools for identifying the most efficient routes for traveling from one place to another. Routing With Live Traffic considers current travel conditions and uses historical data to improve the reliability of information.
The technology provides other important benefits. Data analysts have more information from which to draw as they develop strategies and policies for reducing carbon emissions that cause environmental damage. Data-driven planning is also important for reducing traffic-related noise.
As stewards of a world-class city, authorities in Istanbul are committed to technology solutions that improve the quality of life for residents and visitors. In a city known for culture, a rich history, and endless diversions, transportation is essential to those experiences. The Routing With Live Traffic project provides one more tool to ensure that everyone can enjoy the city's treasures.
"Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) Geographic Information System Directorate quickly became a pioneer in using GIS to address complex business needs in Istanbul and Turkey upon adopting the technology in the early 2000s. Thanks to the IBB GIS Directorate team's work, the 16 million Istanbul residents and local and foreign tourists visiting the city will have useful, up-to-date information for gauging traffic, choosing routes, and predicting travel time needed to navigate the city."