German city invests in sensor technology for traffic control

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The city of Rüsselsheim am Main in Germany is using a smart infrastructure solution to control trucks passing through the road network and ease congestion, air, and noise pollution.

The project is part of the initiative to digitize municipal transport systems and uses 16 monitoring stations based on LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensor technology from the company Velodyne, installed on busy roads leading into the city. The solution follows the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) that protect data privacy by capturing only non-personalized information from vehicles and occupants.

“This traffic monitoring system is a pioneer in Germany,” says officials from the city of Rüsselsheim am Main. Digital monitoring makes it possible to carry out traffic surveillance without having to apply police manpower.

Centrally located in the Rhine-Main region, Germany’s second-largest metropolitan area, Rüsselsheim is connected to many road routes, resulting in hundreds of trucks passing through the city every day and heavy traffic that degrades the city’s air quality. To address this problem, Rüsselsheim has banned trucks weighing more than 7.5 tonnes from driving on city streets unless they have a point of departure or destination within the municipality.

“Rüsselsheim is taking an innovative approach to protecting city residents from congestion, noise, and fumes caused by heavy truck traffic,” says Laura Wrisley, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Velodyne. “We believe that smart city solutions can contribute to revolutionary advances in municipal transportation systems and urban sustainability initiatives.”

Velodyne’s smart infrastructure solution combines LIDAR sensors and Bluecity’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) software to create a 3D map of roadways and intersections in real-time, providing accurate information about vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. Data is collected in any lighting or weather condition throughout the year. For this project, COM-IoT Technologies will provide a special image comparison module for the Intelligent Infrastructure Solution.

Rüsselsheim’s intention is also to use traffic monitoring and analysis capabilities to predict, diagnose and address traffic safety challenges, helping to make informed decisions to take corrective action.

Other applications

In general, intelligent traffic management in urban centers, able to count the number of cars and manage traffic permits, is just one of the many applications of IoT sensors.

IoT systems can also be used to make traffic lights work smarter, for example. Equipped with sensors that collect data in real-time, they can help reduce traffic congestion by monitoring busy intersections and suggesting alternative routes. If equipped with features to assess weather conditions, they can also adjust the brightness and intensity of lights to improve the visibility of traffic lights while saving energy.

Another application of intelligent traffic management based on IoT solutions has to do with road accident prevention. In this case, IoT systems can contribute by communicating immediately with emergency services and traffic authorities. They can also alert drivers to road conditions ahead, such as collisions, construction sites, and potholes. Parking spaces are another area where intelligent urban transport management solutions can be useful. It is seen as one of the most serious problems faced by municipal traffic control teams, as regions lacking parking spaces suffer from high levels of congestion. IoT sensors can collect data on unoccupied spaces and point them out to drivers, avoiding unnecessary driving around looking for a parking space.

The global market for intelligent traffic management systems is expected to grow significantly between 2021 and 2031, at a compound annual growth rate of 6.7%, reaching a value of US$34 billion by the end of the period.

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