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Smart urban traffic zones

Smart urban traffic zones will be a part of the future flexible city where vehicles travel on people’s terms. The goal is to make smart urban traffic zones into a powerful tool based on geofencing which will help to create quieter, safer and healthier environments for people to live and work in.

About the project

Smart urban traffic zones will form part of future flexible cities where vehicles travel on people’s terms. Smart urban traffic zones will be a powerful tool based on geofencing which will help to create quieter, safer and healthier environments for people to live and work in.

Objective

The objective is to identify the fundamental requirements and then to create and demonstrate smart zones by taking a customer-centred and iterative approach in real-life situations. This will help to make cities more accessible, reduce injuries and deaths on the roads and develop more flexible urban environments.

Shared requirements bring many players together

Smart urban traffic zones involve an extensive network of players from stakeholders to end customers. The aim is for them to ensure that the smart zones which are being tested and created meet the right requirements and that they are usable and can be implemented. The project is managed jointly by CLOSER and the Swedish Transport Administration. It is funded by Vinnova, as part of its Challenge-Drive Innovation initiative, and by the players involved.

Smart exits

This part of the project aims to demonstrate the design proposals and technical solutions for smart zones near construction site exits, with a focus on measures that will improve safety for cyclists in particular. 

There are often incidents involving heavy vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists near construction site exits. In this work package, the aim is to develop and demonstrate dynamic warning systems that help to improve safety and also other measures that will make the traffic situation clearer, safer and more accessible.

This will also improve the working environment of professional drivers and create a more pleasant and safer situation on the streets for the people who spend time in these zones.

The project involves representatives from road maintenance and traffic management bodies, the research sector and companies which can offer a variety of technology and product solutions.

Digitally conditioned construction transports

Speed-controlled heavy construction transports are demonstrated here. The demonstration takes place on Södermalm in Stockholm and includes a heavy mass transport vehicle that delivers concrete to construction sites. This test is dependent on the city issuing an exemption to be able to carry a heavier load that the load-bearing capacity of the road infrastructure allows. When the truck drives fully loaded, with heavier weight than normally allowed, into the geofencade zone, the vehicle's speed is automatically limited to 15 km / h. Being able to drive fully loaded vehicles reduces the environmental impact of construction transports by reducing the number of transport vehicles needed to meet the demand for concrete deliveries to the construction site. By using geofence to ensure a low speed for heavily loaded vehicles, the possibility is created to more dynamically allow this type of transport in the city.

Hornsgatan innovation zone

Hornsgatan in Stockholm has been chosen as a test bed for innovative traffic monitoring solutions. This project uses Hornsgatan to investigate how road safety and the interaction between different road users can be improved by linking together smart sensors and connected vehicles.

Trucks that are delivering goods will reduce their speeds at times when a large number of people are walking and cycling in the area. Unloading areas alongside the street will play an important role in ensuring that goods reach all the stores and restaurants. The project will collect statistics about how and when the unloading areas are used and share this information to simplify planning and make the situation easier for companies delivering in the area.

System design

The development of smart cities involves linking together more and more systems, which will contribute to a better understanding of what is happening in the city. Stockholm and Gothenburg are two Swedish cities which were among the first to test new solutions with the aim of creating urban environments that are attractive and accessible to all. There is the same trend on a European level where the Urban Vehicle Access Restrictions (UVAR) concept is in the process of being developed and implemented. A dynamic definition of different types of urban transport requires digital systems which offer the option of sending and receiving information to and from external players and links between the different systems used by road maintenance bodies.

To lay the foundations for this type of development, this project will determine which player or players will have access to information and provide decision-making data for vehicles in smart zones. It will also pool knowledge relating to technical specifications, process guidelines, roles and responsibilities to allow a requirements specification to be drawn up for integrating and implementing urban smart zones.

The Swedish Transport Administration and Technolution will carry out a survey of the requirements for these technical solutions which will make the proposed demonstrators possible and create an overview of ongoing initiatives on a European level to ensure that the solution is sustainable in the long term.

Technolution will develop and supply the overarching digital infrastructure solution which is required to implement all the demonstrators. In collaboration with other players, the solution which will be tested in the demonstrators will allow smart zones to be established and used in cities and will determine how they should be integrated with other existing and future systems.

System effects

This part of the project will study the effects that the measures implemented in the project can have on society and its inhabitants. The focus will be on studying road safety, health and the environment.

In terms of road safety and health, the project will analyze how the measures implemented in the cities can contribute to reducing the number of killed and seriously injured in the traffic environment and in terms of environmental effects, it can be about carbon dioxide emissions and noise. It will also be studied how companies and authorities can work together to get the technology in place with the theme of innovation-driven value creation, collaboration and upscaling. This work will lead to a sustainable business model for the upscaling of smart zones. The system analyzes also ensure that the benefits are large enough to proceed with a broader implementation of smart zones.

Regulatory development

The aim of this part is to examine the legal framework required for an upscaling of results that have emerged from the case studies. So far in the project, a number of legal challenges have been identified.

On Hornsgatan in Stockholm, tests are being made with variable recommended speeds and geofence vehicles. Today's traffic ordinance does not support what is being tested within the project, there are no traffic rules for geofence vehicles, which could be used to scale up the result. Is there a way forward in the future to change the traffic ordinance so that there is legal support for this solution or can the technology solve it e.g. by the city in its public procurement of transport requires that geofencing be used?

Transports that are too heavy for the road's bearing capacity may be exempted. In this case, it would have been good to load more concrete on the truck than the road bearing capacity allows. But exemption is only allowed for goods that can not be divided into e.g. a heavy engine block. The challenge is that concrete is divisible goods and therefore can not really be exempted. An experimental exemption has been distributed here, but there will be legal challenges in the future in scaling up the results regarding divisible goods. Another challenge is that the concrete truck is geofenced. In this way, it is possible to check whether the concrete truck follows the test dispensation or not. The question is who is the recipient of this information. The road operator who grants the exemption is not the control authority. Instead, it is the Police Authority that is the control authority. Is the Police Authority interested in receiving information from geofenced vehicles in the future?

In the case of construction exits the relationship between unprotected road users and trucks driving out of a construction exit and how they communicate with each other using road signs and signals have been investigated. A challenge that has been identified is that unprotected road users that does not have a driving license. How should someone without traffic training easily understand the rules that apply to the construction exit and how they are visualized in e.g. road signs and signals?

Learn more about Smart Urban Trafik zones

You do this by listening to a number of different presentations below.