ITS in Bielsko-Biała: innovation on a European scale
In the previous year, we acted as a Contract Engineer in the expansion of the Intelligent Transport System in Bielsko-Biała. As part of the project implementation, three variable message boards were launched at the three main entry roads to the city, whose task is to present messages and warnings, with the possibility of dynamically changing them, adapt to current events or road conditions in the city.
One of the messages presented on the boards is information about travel times in selected directions, most often chosen by drivers entering the city. In order to show the current travel times on previously defined directions and road sections, the road infrastructure should be equipped with appropriate devices for collecting such information, a system that can record the collected information, process it and prepare it for presentation, among others on the aforementioned variable message tables. So far, the most frequently used device for determining travel times on road sections are cameras that recognize vehicle license plate numbers. This solution is similar to the one we know, for example, from the so-called sectional speed measurements - at the beginning and end of the measuring section, the same registration number is searched for and its travel time is calculated. In order to collect information from a longer section, an appropriate camera system must be placed along the entire route of the passage thus monitored. The greater the precision of the measurements - the denser the measurement sections, the more expensive the solution is, and the possible change of the measurement sections is limited to road sections previously equipped with special cameras.
The Municipal Road Administration in Bielsko-Biała used a different approach in its project - instead of investing in "hard" infrastructure, which is expensive and static, it established cooperation with the Google Maps service. Thanks to this approach, based on all the potential provided by this service, drivers passing through Bielsko-Biała have information displayed from the same source as the most popular navigation in the world. The Municipal Road Administration in Bielsko-Biała will also be able to freely define the supervised road sections from which information will be presented. Changing the direction and section of roads will not require the installation of any cameras - just change the definition on the dashboard of the Google service and the board control module. This definition will not be limited only to sections previously equipped with cameras, but to all roads that are known to Google Maps.
This solution is the first such approach in Poland, it is also innovative in Europe - we are glad that we could be part of this project and supervise its implementation.