Cisco case study: Connected roadways alleviate autobahn congestion
The need for a smart highway
Traffic jams do not benefit anyone. According to Cisco, for every minute spent clearing an accident from a road, there is a four-minute delay to get traffic moving again.
In an effort to diminish the impact of traffic congestion, Austria’s Autobahnen- und Schnellstraßen-Finanzierungs-Aktiengesellschaft, or Autobahn and Highway Financial Stock Corporation, turned to Cisco’s Connected Roadways solutions to bring the “internet of things” to its roadside sensors. The result is a highway designed to monitor itself, send information to drivers and predict traffic to ensure lanes stay clear of congestion.
ASFiNAG, a state-owned company, operates 2,200 kilometers of highway throughout the country. It started its connected highway project more than a decade ago with plans to build a fiber-optic network along the Austrian autobahn.
“We connected more than 70,000 sensors and 6,500 traffic cameras over fiber-optic networks,” said Bernd Datler, managing director of the tolling company at ASFiNAG. “This give us live feedback on our roads to help route emergency vehicles and provide drivers with up-to-date information.”
Cisco brings thousands of sensors together
The Austrian company partnered with Cisco on the project using ruggedized switches and routers. Cisco’s IP Interoperability and Collaboration System was deployed to help communicate information to authorities via different radio standards.
“Our use case is unique, with thousands of kilometers of roads and more than 400 kilometers of tunnels,” Datler said. “Cisco provides a complete range of industry-leading solutions, and A1Telekom Austria is an invaluable partner who understands our needs.”
The transportation firm is utilizing Cisco’s Connected Roadway, a system designed to create a converged network infrastructure to securely connect disparate intelligent transportation systems to improve traffic flow, reduce roadside incidents and provide a centralized view of highway systems. This view includes road conditions, traffic, construction and transit information.
Benefits to drivers
In the United States, travel congestion reportedly results in more than 4 billion hours of travel delay and nearly 3 billion gallons of gas used at a cost of $80 billion per year.
ASFiNAG’s connected highway uses sensors to take data on road, traffic and weather conditions, and communicates the information to drivers. If the system detects slow-moving traffic, it might lower the speed limit of roads before incoming cars add to the congestion.
Additionally, Cisco IPICS is designed to communicate information to any device through the use of a central console. So even if there is an accident in a tunnel, the system would be able to contact the correct authorities to the site of the accident.
ASFiNAG and Cisco’s Connected Roadway also provide Wi-Fi access at rest stops.
The results are ahead of the game
The program also puts ASFiNAG well ahead of the road connectivity standards set by the European Union’s Intelligent Transport Systems directive.