City of Krakow optimizes traffic flow, reduces travel times

To reduce traffic on its main arteries, Poland's second largest city, Krakow, invested in adaptive control systems. The results are outstanding: Using intelligent modeling technology, the software PTV Balance and PTV Epics reduced waiting times of private vehicles, as well as public transport lines.


PTV Balance allows users to coordinate traffic lights in intersections, and to activate green waves. The software uses traffic flow models to calculate delays, lengths of traffic jams, and number of stops. It optimizes signal programs every five minutes, in response to real-time traffic flows.

PTV Epics is a traffic-adaptive control instrument for single intersections, which is installed inside the control unit. The model-based process observes local conditions, calculates multiple control options in less than a second, and applies the best alternative. PTV Epics also considers different modes of transport, so traffic managers can prioritize signaling for public transport or pedestrians.


PTV Balance and PTV Epics have been installed at 30 intersections in Krakow, allowing them to optimize four road sections along 19 kilometers. This covers most major traffic arteries leading in and out of the city. Tram and bus lines also run across most of this network.

One of the sections runs along Nowohucka road. While the volume of traffic in the main direction of travel remained consistently high throughout the day, traffic flows in the opposite direction were reduced by around 6% during morning rush-hour.

The optimization of the signal controls by PTV Balance and PTV Epics allowed travel times for private vehicles in the main direction of travel to be reduced by 7,5% during the morning. Although this resulted in a slight increase in travel times in the opposite direction, overall journey times were reduced by 3%. It was even possible to achieve a reduction of 6,5% in the afternoon.

Krakow was also able to improve prioritization of public transport. The section along Bronowicka road has separate lanes for public transport. By effectively balancing public transport prioritization with PTV Epics, travel times in public transport lines were reduced by an average almost 8%. For private transport, this meant a 10% reduce in travel times during the morning, but a 9% increase in the afternoon.

The solution to congestion in Krakow was implemented by PTV Group, GEVAS (traffic management systems), and Global Traffic Systems (light-signal systems and communication).

The Results

PTV model-based signaling installed in 30 intersections

Travel times for private transport reduced by up to 10%

Travel times for public transport lines reduced by average of 8%

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