Chapter 3: Automated and autonomous traffic control
Our focus in Chapter 2 was on the natural and mechanical abilities (through driving) of individuals to automatically and autonomously move themselves in space. From this chapter on we will discuss automation processes for mechanized physical and virtual mobilities, operated by professionals or running autonomously. We will begin this series of discussions with the exploration of traffic control in this chapter, followed by public transportation (Chapter 4), communications (Chapter 5), and AVs (Chapter 6).
Traffic control is meant to regulate traffic, in order to facilitate efficient and safe flows of people and their vehicles. Traffic control in general includes a wide variety of means for the regulation of traffic and the movements of vehicles and people, in all of the mobility spheres: terrestrially by car, on foot, and by trains, in the air by planes, and on the water by boats. These regulative means are highly varied, including signals, texts, lights, textual, and vocal exchanges, and electronic sensors and signals. This variety reflects the tremendous changes that traffic control for all mobility media has undergone through the incorporation of contemporary IT.
The objective of this chapter is to present the emergence of traffic control means for numerous mobility modes, and their development first into automated ones, and eventually possibly also into autonomous ones. Thus, our focus in this chapter will not be on individually moving persons, on whom we focused in Chapter 2, but rather on the control of numerous simultaneously moving individuals, through the controlling...
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