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Holly Bennett
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The University of Melbourne, in partnership with VicRoads, has today launched a world first “living laboratory” on the streets of Carlton and Fitzroy to research high-tech solutions to ease road congestion and enhance safety.

Led by Professor Majid Sarvi from the Melbourne School of Engineering, the Australian Integrated Multimodal Ecosystem – or AIMES test – will connect all parts of the transport environment.

“Currently we have online maps, which incur a 20-minute delay, and we have public transport sites for estimated travel times and delays, but neither of these systems talk to each other,” says Professor Sarvi.

“We’re designing a highly-integrated, intelligent ecosystem to deliver safer, cleaner and more sustainable urban transport outcomes.”

More than 1000 sensors are being installed on traffic lights and light poles, buses, trams, cars and bicycles to create a multimodal system that provides real-time traffic information, alternative routes and prevent crashes.

The sensors are being placed at various locations within a six-kilometre grid bounded by Alexandra Parade, Hoddle Street, Victoria Street/Parade and Lygon Street.

Drummond Street, in the heart of Carlton, will be used to test connected and automated vehicles, with an automatic mini bus ‘mapping’ the test area ahead of trials.

The 3D map will allow researchers to look at real world applications of driverless and highly automated vehicles.

With over 40 industry, government and academic partners involved, Professor Iven Mareels, Dean of the Melbourne School of Engineering is hopeful the project will have significant flow on effects across the transport network.

“This research contributes to both sustainability and liveability, and we’re delighted to lead this ambitious project to better manage Australia’s transport system,” he says.

“Success will mean safer, cleaner cities and happier transport users, both here and overseas.”