As a global leader in the traffic data collection and analysis field, Australian company Metro Count works closely with road managers to develop intelligent traffic monitoring programs. A recent project in the picturesque Swiss Alps provided an interesting model for the application of traffic data with insight that is relevant in an Indian context.
The Canton of Fribourg takes a proactive approach to data collection from a wide number of sites across its network. Collection involves both portable and permanent equipment to ensure both wide coverage and year-round reference points to monitor seasonal changes in traffic. The driving motivation behind Fribourg’s traffic monitoring program is to anticipate future demands while limiting heavy vehicle traffic, reducing congestion and decreasing noise pollution through improved infrastructure and regulations. Indian road managers face similar challenges to improve conditions for road users.
Congestion and Pollution
To identify and understand congestion in Fribourg, a study was commissioned in the spring of 2014. The study aimed to establish traffic patterns across a 640km road network through data collected by 300 pneumatic tube sites, over a 5-year period. With rigorous data control and validation standards set by the SMo (Mobility Service), collecting accurate and accountable data is crucial. To guarantee high-quality data, the authorities opted to use Metro Count monitoring systems. The MC5600 Portable Vehicle Classifiers have been engaged for rotation across 300 sites while 15 permanent MC5810 Inductive Loop Classifiers are strategically placed to collect long term data and to seasonal adjustment factors for MC5600 data. This program of monitoring provides information on vehicle flows across the network allowing the Canton to strategically plan infrastructure to minimise congestion.
Regulating Heavy Vehicle Traffic
Switzerland has been trying for over a decade to reduce heavy vehicle traffic, encouraging distributors to opt for rail freight transport. While progress has been made, with a decrease in volume of 10.3% between 2012-2014, the goal of only 650000 journeys/year is still far away. Traffic monitoring has provided critical data for justifying strategies to reduce heavy vehicles. To further discourage heavy vehicles traversing the roads, the federal council decided to increase the travelling fees again in 2017.
India is also dealing with the impacts of heavy vehicle traffic. A recent study showed that trucks contribute significantly to traffic accidents, causing 22.4% of road fatalities (Ponnaluri, 2012). Classification statistics from Metro Count equipment provide Fribourg authorities with detailed truck data including truck volumes, speeds, lengths and axle groupings. Research in India has highlighted the potential to improve truck efficiencies and detailed classification data plays an important part in planning and reviewing infrastructure and regulatory efforts. “Our truck productivity is very low i.e. 200km per day. This can be increased to 350km per day by reduction of congestion and electronic toll collection”, said Sukaram Marwan, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
In Fribourg, the SMO collaborates with regional authorities and other related organisations to gather traffic data and compile six main analyses, using Metro Count Traffic Executive software.
- Annual Average Daily Traffic (for all traffic, and for Heavy Vehicles)
- Percentage of Heavy Vehicle Traffic
- Speed (including Median Speed and the 85th percentile)
- Average Daytime Traffic (6AM to 10PM) and Average Night-time Traffic (10PM to 6 AM)
- Traffic Volume (partial and annual)
- Custom metrics (Average Daytime Traffic/ Annual Average Daily Traffic x 16; Average Night-time Traffic/ Annual Average Daily Traffic x 8)