Wallonia to invest 166 million in smart road network
The Walloon government and Sofico, its financial agency, announced on Monday that 166 million euro will be invested in smart phone apps, connected vehicles and dynamic weight control for semi-trucks, among others, as part of a series of measures for ‘smart and dynamic road network management’.
Walloon Minister for Mobility Carlo Di Antonio (dH) commented during the presentation at the Perex road management center in Dassoulx, that these investments “fit into the EU strategy to deploy massively C-ITS (Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems), a first step to the fully autonomous driving vehicle”.
Detecting excess weight
One of the plan’s eye-catchers is the installation of sensors in the road surface and the usage of number plate recognizing ANPR cameras to detect overweight of semi-trucks passing over it, measuring the pressure on the different axles. If maximum weight is exceeded, the truck will be intercepted by a mobile team and diverted to a fixed weighbridge.
Smart phone app and web radio
For all road users a smart phone app will be developed by the end of this year being able to replace emergency phones along the highways. It will also give direct information about traffic flow and road works and with a dedicated web radio broadcast tailored to the stretch of road the user is driving on.
Interact with connected cars
By the end of 2018 the infrastructure will be put in place to enable the Perex traffic management center to interact directly with the end users within ‘connected vehicles’, part of the European C-Roads projects.
This implicates the E40 highway Brussels-Aachen part in Wallonia to German border, the E411 Brussels-Luxemburg, the E25 Liège to the A26 and E40 interchanges and the E42 Namur-Liège.
A pilot project will be set up with dedicated zones for ride-sharing on the emergency shoulder along the E411 highway Wavre-Brussels and Arlon-Sterpenich with infrared cameras detecting the number of occupants in a car.
Also announced before the end of this year is the installation of smart incident detecting cameras and surveillance cameras on parking areas and a whole bunch of dynamic road messaging billboards.
The investment will be partly covered by the kilometre tax for heavy trucks that was introduced in 2016 and “will allow a major step forward in the domain of new technologies in the next three to four years”, according to Sofico.