A traffic-aware routing protocol (TARCO) that considers integrated real-time traffic conditions for constructing delivery paths over a vehicular environment is presented. This goal was achieved through three mechanisms: cooperative traffic information collection, lightweight real-time road scoring and adaptable data route construction. An accurate overall view of the real-time traffic conditions was obtained from the cooperation between information aggregators at junctions and information collectors on road segments. Each road segment was then assigned a weight according to the overall view of the traffic conditions and updated periodically to reflect traffic variations. Finally, the road segments providing efficient and reliable data routes were used to construct a routing path with guaranteed connectivity and a short delivery delay to the destination. Simulation results showed that the use of TARCO leads to high network performance in terms of the packet delivery ratio, end-to-end delay and communication overhead.
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