Autobahn transformation opens road for TDS

First published in Intertraffic Innovation News - June 29, 2020

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Changes to the way Germany’s world-famous autobahn network is administered may boost the weigh-in-motion (WIM) operations of Traffic Data Systems (TDS).

From January 2021 a new entity, Autobahn GmbH, will take over the complete administration of all motorways, and will be in charge of financing, planning, maintenance, operation and construction.

“Currently these issues are carried out by the 16 German states. However, all works are paid by the federal government,” explains TDS CEO Florian Weiss. “This separation meant that each state is in charge of everything that needed to be done. This federated system had advantages and disadvantages; things were also carried out in a different way from state to state.”

The new set-up is a major change – although Weiss acknowledges it is too early to say whether it will be a success.

“In terms of WIM, I hope that there will be a nationwide strategy in order to use WIM for bridge and infrastructure monitoring,” he says. “Currently it is mainly used for statistics and preselection.”

But Weiss says there are thousands of bridges on German motorways that need to be monitored, as they have neither been designed nor built for the amount and weight of current traffic.

The manager of Autobahn GmbH for Northern Germany has expressed interest in WIM technology – and in TDS’s project with the city of Hamburg, host of the ITS World Congress next year.

TDS is demonstrating a three-lane bridge-monitoring WIM system which will be upgraded to a fully-automated WIM enforcement site with overview and ANPR cameras as well as a road weather information system. There will also be a fast wi-fi internet connection to a vehicle inspection site nearby, that is used by the traffic inspection department of the Hamburg police.

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