Digitization of Traffic Counting

September 14, 2021
R. Seidel

There are many ways to make roads safer. One tried-and-tested method is traffic counting. In Germany, traffic is counted on federal highways, state highways and district roads. In addition, the traffic flows of important arterial roads are repeatedly monitored by permanent counting stations.

This effort is made to ensure that traffic flows as smoothly and safely as possible. Based on the collected data, bicycle lanes are created, and existing roads are rehabilitated or expanded by adding lanes.

The techniques used vary. Four main variants can be distinguished. First and foremost is the manual traffic count. This type of traffic counting has certainly been observed by everyone. People sit in a folding chair or car at the roadside and count the passing vehicles. Usually, one person counts the vehicles in one lane, which leads to a small gathering at the roadside or on the bridge.

A high-tech form of traffic counting is the detection of road traffic using lidar technology. Lidar is a laser scanning method for detecting three-dimensional spaces and objects. This method is fairly accurate in most cases, but the measurement technology used is quite susceptible to weather conditions.

A scaled-down version is the detection of vehicles using side radar. The promise is that these devices can detect what type of vehicles they are based on vehicle length. This detection process is hugely prone to error, as the radar units can be blocked by parked vehicles. Classifying vehicles by assigning vehicle length is also questionable, as buses and trucks, for example, can have similar lengths. Vehicles with trailers also cannot be accurately assigned.

The modern alternative to these three existing options is the detection of passing traffic using optical solutions in combination with artificial intelligence. With the help of this method, valuable resources can be conserved. The more efficient use of personnel results in lower costs for municipalities, which can be used elsewhere, for example, to rehabilitate roads.

"The efficient use of resources is essential for many cities and communities, and for some it is even necessary for survival. That's why we've made it our mission to develop an alternative that allows cities and towns to get the maximum benefit from budgets allocated to transportation. Already in August 2021, the use of optical solutions in combination with AI has proven to be an efficient tool in the context of road traffic counting in Schleswig-Holstein."

Markus Hantschmann, COO of ROADIA

Every municipality has the choice whether to use the well-known methods or to turn to advanced variants. The Road Construction and Transport Authority of the State of Schleswig Holstein has shown the way. If you would also like to be part of progress and digitalization, please feel free to contact us. Our employees will be happy to advise you on the digital possibilities.


Rico Seidel

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