Copenhagen races towards carbon neutrality with ImFlow

Published:16-03-2021

Copenhagen races towards carbon neutrality with ImFlow

Algorithms are getting smarter all the time, saving us more time, money and energy, and often also helping us reduce our environmental impact. As market leaders in traffic management, we make sure our clients keep in step with these developments. In Copenhagen, for example, we implemented the latest version of our traffic management system ImFlow in 2020, helping the city on its way to becoming the first CO2-neutral European city by 2025.

Making greener transport more attractive

Like many cities across Europe, Copenhagen is working hard to offer its citizens a more environmentally friendly place to live. The Danish capital won’t just settle for better – they want to be the best: the city’s ambition is to be the first CO2-neutral European city by 2025. With traffic responsible for 90% of harmful emissions, local authorities asked Dynniq to upgrade the ImFlow traffic management system used in the city, prioritising public transport and reducing CO2 emissions.

Our team spent 2020 updating ImFlow across the streets of Copenhagen. We also upgraded ImFlow Central – a tool that allows traffic authorities to manage the entire system from one centre. The newest ImFlow software platform, from our technology provider Peek Traffic, uses state of the art control algorithms to calculate optimal traffic flow, and determines how long traffic lights stay green. This reduces the amount of time cars idle at an intersection, for example, or gives cyclists and buses priority, making these ‘greener’ modes of transport more attractive to Copenhagen’s citizens.

Every second counts

As a city grows, so does the amount of traffic. This means that different aspects and areas need to be prioritised, and traffic management must maximise the capacity of the existing infrastructure. This is where ImFlow comes in. Because we operate on the cutting edge of traffic management and technology, our engineers can continuously improve the ImFlow algorithm and product as more and more traffic situations occur and more data are collected. This means the available infrastructure can always be used in the best way possible to optimize the flow of traffic. For example, bus stops and dwell times can be configured beforehand, so that the algorithm can plan bus routes more efficiently.

Significant improvements

Because no two cities are the same, indicators and targets also vary for each project – from seconds off waiting time at a traffic light to lower delays on bus routes. Local policy and client requirements also come into play. In this case, the City of Copenhagen wanted to reduce CO2 emissions from idling traffic as well as giving priority to public transport. The upgraded ImFlow system is already delivering on these and many other targets, with significant improvements at network level:

  • During rush hours (morning and evening), the average delay (in seconds) has decreased by 10% and 21% for cars and buses, respectively;
  • For cyclists and pedestrians, the average delay has decreased by 5% and 8%;
  • The average speed for cars has increased by 4%, and for buses by 9%.

Updating in times of COVID-19

Despite COVID-19 restrictions, our team stayed on track and completed the project according to schedule. In fact, the pandemic has actually highlighted one of the advantages of ImFlow. Traditional traffic light cycles often work with clocks and pre-programmed schedules – think, peak versus non-peak times. ImFlow, by contrast, measures the volume of traffic in real-time and continually adapts. In the Copenhagen project, this meant that when city dwellers were encouraged to stay home and the volume of traffic noticeably decreased, it was not necessary to make any changes at all: ImFlow was smart enough to go with the flow and adapt to changing conditions.