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A multi-agent system for distributed smartphone sensing cycling in smart cities

Theodoros Anagnostopoulos (Department of Business Administration, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece)
Chu Luo (School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Jino Ramson (School of Engineering Technology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA)
Klimis Ntalianis (Department of Business Administration, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece)
Vassilis Kostakos (School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia)
Christos Skourlas (Department of Informatics and Computer Engineering, University of West Attica, Athens, Greece)

Journal of Systems and Information Technology

ISSN: 1328-7265

Article publication date: 7 April 2020

Issue publication date: 15 May 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose a distributed smartphone sensing-enabled system, which assumes an intelligent transport signaling (ITS) infrastructure that operates traffic lights in a smart city (SC). The system is able to handle priorities between groups of cyclists (crowd-cycling) and traffic when approaching traffic lights at road junctions.

Design/methodology/approach

The system takes into consideration normal probability density function (PDF) and analytics computed for a certain group of cyclists (i.e. crowd-cycling). An inference model is built based on real-time spatiotemporal data of the cyclists. As the system is highly distributed – both physically (i.e. location of the cyclists) and logically (i.e. different threads), the problem is treated under the umbrella of multi-agent systems (MAS) modeling. The proposed model is experimentally evaluated by incorporating a real GPS trace data set from the SC of Melbourne, Australia. The MAS model is applied to the data set according to the quantitative and qualitative criteria adopted. Cyclists’ satisfaction (CS) is defined as a function, which measures the satisfaction of the cyclists. This is the case where the cyclists wait the least amount of time at traffic lights and move as fast as they can toward their destination. ITS system satisfaction (SS) is defined as a function that measures the satisfaction of the ITS system. This is the case where the system serves the maximum number of cyclists with the fewest transitions between the lights. Smart city satisfaction (SCS) is defined as a function that measures the overall satisfaction of the cyclists and the ITS system in the SC based on CS and SS. SCS defines three SC policies (SCP), namely, CS is maximum and SS is minimum then the SC is cyclist-friendly (SCP1), CS is average and SS is average then the SC is equally cyclist and ITS system friendly (SCP2) and CS is minimum and SS is maximum then the SC is ITS system friendly (SCP3).

Findings

Results are promising toward the integration of the proposed system with contemporary SCs, as the stakeholders are able to choose between the proposed SCPs according to the SC infrastructure. More specifically, cyclist-friendly SCs can adopt SCP1, SCs that treat cyclists and ITS equally can adopt SCP2 and ITS friendly SCs can adopt SCP3.

Originality/value

The proposed approach uses internet connectivity available in modern smartphones, which provide users control over the data they provide to us, to obviate the installation of additional sensing infrastructure. It extends related study by assuming an ITS system, which turns traffic lights green by considering the normal PDF and the analytics computed for a certain group of cyclists. The inference model is built based on the real-time spatiotemporal data of the cyclists. As the system is highly distributed – both physically (i.e. location of the cyclists) and logically (i.e. different threads), the system is treated under the umbrella of MAS. MAS has been used in the literature to model complex systems by incorporating intelligent agents. In this study, the authors treat agents as proxy threads running in the cloud, as they require high computation power not available to smartphones.

Keywords

Citation

Anagnostopoulos, T., Luo, C., Ramson, J., Ntalianis, K., Kostakos, V. and Skourlas, C. (2020), "A multi-agent system for distributed smartphone sensing cycling in smart cities", Journal of Systems and Information Technology, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 119-134. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSIT-12-2018-0158

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited