TDS warns: ‘Don’t stifle innovation!’

First published in Intertraffic Innovation News - June 9, 2020

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Tender documents worldwide for weigh-in-motion (WIM) contracts are generally likely to favour cheaper products, warns one leading manufacturer. Florian Weiss, CEO of Traffic Data Systems, says this is because there is no vision for future requirements and a lack of understanding about innovative WIM technology.

“We’re not afraid of competition but we want the competition to be on a level playing field,” Weiss says. “Don’t stifle innovation! Companies that supply real cutting-edge technology are slowed down or excluded in order to reduce costs. In some cases, people in road authorities do not understand the technology which is being used at the roadside and in cabinets. Often there is also no interaction between different players, such as road authorities, police and so on.”

Weiss says that authorities can end up passing responsibility for tendering to engineering consultants who also do not understand the benefits of new technology – and, in some cases, have little knowledge of standard WIM systems.

“WIM is a very special technology, that only a few companies can really handle,” Weiss insists. “Cars and TV sets have to be state of the art: this is something that people can see and understand – but we argue that the same applies to electronics which are used at the roadside.”

He believes road authorities must look ahead in order to ensure they invest taxpayers’ money in the best way.

“Buying older technology can be a false economy. the customer isn’t buying for ‘now’ – the infrastructure and technology in a WIM system is going to be operated 10, 20 years from now,” Weiss points out. “For many years, TDS is the only OIML-certified WIM system manufacturer for low- and high-speed operation. Sooner or later, WIM-based tolling and enforcement will be as common as speed enforcement. Therefore, road authorities should start now to prepare the future for this technology.”

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