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Protracted Scandinavian winter conditions require increased attention to road quality

Gothenburg first in the world to test digital winter road maintenance

Gothenburg first in the world to test digital winter road maintenance

Summer is not here yet, but city officials are already thinking how to make winter driving safer

Gothenburg’s city website informed about the start of a new 3-year project which will create a digital ecosystem around road maintenance in the municipality with a view to making road conditions more predictable and so that maintenance teams can respond faster. The project carries quite a wordy title - "Introduction of Digital Winter Road Information for Efficient and Sustainable Municipal Winter Road Maintenance" – but in all fairness that also explains its purpose clearly.

This is part of a growing trend for the digitalization of Swedish roads

The project, which counts with a budget of SEK 4.6 million (or about 450,000 euros), represents a system and technology demonstration where a fleet of 3000 connected vehicles will communicate anonymized, and so-called vehicle2infrastructure (V2I) data such as road friction conditions, air temperature, position, etc. The information will be combined with other fixed sensors to create quite a comprehensive and coherent snapshot of road conditions at any time, giving the chance to also forecast changes and attend to them before they turn hazardous.

As for the vehicles in question, the sensors will be installed in cars that are frequently in circulation and generate a lot of movement all over the municipal territory. These will include taxi cabs and rental cars, for example.

The benefits that the implementation of this project will bring about are the increased safety and reduced number of traffic accidents, as well as the provision of real-time information to drivers regarding poor road conditions, even in rapid weather changes, for example, the appearance of black ice.

The city also gets increased ecological sustainability by optimizing resources and reducing the negative impact of winter road maintenance. This is done, among other things, through reduced emissions from maintenance vehicles, reduced use of salt and other anti-skid agents.

The project has also already garnered some considerable praise in Sweden, having been awarded the Grand Engineer Award in Dgitiztion 2021 at the end of April.

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