Wallonia inaugurates new Perex 4.0 traffic control centre
On Friday, current Walloon Mobility Minister, Carlo Di Antonio (cdH), and his predecessor, Maxime Prévot (chH), inaugurated the new Perex 4.0 traffic control centre. New from the ground up, this centre will manage traffic and safety on the entire Walloon road network. Moreover, it is also in charge of waterways now.
“The challenge with the last traffic control centre at the end of the 90’s was to be at the forefront of an alert network for all mobility flows. Today, this centre has aged. I wouldn’t say it has improved over time – that would be lying – but its tools have taken a serious blow. It was time for an upgrade”, declares ex-Walloon Mobility Minister, Maxime Prévot, who launched the Perex 4.0 project.
30 million euro
Some years and 30 million euro later, Wallonia can profit from a completely new centre. Located in Daussoulx, in a newly built 4.500 square meters, five-storey building, the Perex 4.0 centre stands. “When I visited the old building, I could take a glance at the state of the infrastructure. I understood that the new project made sense”, adds Carlo Di Antonio.
Today, obsolete computers are gone and the latest technology is used to better suit the traffic management needs. Plus, this new building is completely passive. Body heat from the 150 employees and, especially, heat generated by the many computers will take the place of a central heating system. Electricity is taken care of by solar panels placed on the roof.
Wall of screens
“The motorways and secondary roads network surveillance in permanent, 24/7”, explains Caroline Pourtois, Walloon road network exploitation manager, “images of no less than 80 different cameras can be simultaneously displayed on our huge screen.”
In a room dominated by a 10-meter long and 2-meter high screen, fifteen people manage and monitor traffic. While images from cameras can be displayed on the big screen, every other computer displays a map gathering data from all sorts of sensors.
“The Walloon road network is not yet totally covered by surveillance cameras”, explains Caroline Pourtois. To counter that, a system of sensors has been put up. It can detect the speed of any moving vehicle and, therefore, sense when traffic is slowing down.
“All those data come to us and we see if the police or fire brigade have been informed”, adds the manager. Perex 4.0 is also in charge of putting up information messages on electronic billboards, creating traffic info for radio stations or GPS and Coyote alerts.
With the renovation, the Perex centre gets a new competence: managing waterways. On Friday, for the first time in history, the Salzinne lock was opened from the Perex 4.0 centre in Daussoulx. Like an air traffic tower, boat operators are contacted and directed by the centre.
A specific waterway management room has been created in the new building. Moreover, it is situated next to a hydrology room in which, in collaboration with the IRM, meteorologists analyze rainfall and the height of water. In the end, all waterway infrastructures will be connected to the Perex 4.0 centre.