Canada’s Skymeter Corporation scoops the main prize in the coveted Intertraffic Innovation Awards
As Intertraffic Amsterdam opened its doors for the 20th time, six organisations in particular had reason to celebrate, having been showered in glory by the jury of the Intertraffic Innovation Awards.
During the opening ceremony at Amsterdam RAI, March 23, 2010, the winners of the traffic industry’s most sought-after prizes were finally revealed. Awards were presented in six separate categories: ITS/Traffic Management; Parking; Safety; Environment; Cooperative Systems; and Infrastructure. Intertraffic Amsterdam 2010 runs from 23-26 March 2010 in Amsterdam RAI.
The winner in the ‘ITS/Traffic Management’ category, Skymeter Corporation, was also recognised as the ‘Overall Winner’ for its Skymeter GPS-based financial-grade road use meter, designed for a variety of applications from road user charging and pay-as-you-drive insurance to parking.
The winner of the ‘Cooperative Systems’ category was Germany’s Gevas Software for its involvement in the Travolution project, while Israel’s Lidror was identified as the most innovative product in the ‘Parking’ category.
The ‘Safety’ gong was claimed by Spain’s Badennova, while Gatsometer from the Netherlands was announced as the greenest of the green in the ‘Environment’ category.
Finally, in ‘Infrastructure’, the UK’s Crown International proved that it is poles apart from the competition with its simple but ingenius wind-up/wind-down VMC pole.
The prizes were presented to the winners by Awards chairman Fred Wegman, managing director of SWOV, the Dutch national traffic safety research institute, who admitted that the ITS/Traffic Management category in particular presented a great deal of debate before the final decision was eventually made. In the ITS/Traffic Management category, Wegman commented that Skymeter’s GNSS-based smart road use meter impressed as a result of its broad applicability (Stand 09.216). “It brings an integrated service to users, a platform upon which you can bring in a variety of added-value services based on extremely accurate satellite positioning.” Already deployed in a parking application in Winnipeg, Canada, the jury recognises that this technology is one for the future, and one which seemingly addresses many apparent concerns with using satellite tracking for traffic management applications.
“The fact that all evidentiary data is stored on the user side is a strong plus point,” Wegman added. Not only does the system reportedly address and overcome the issue of urban canyons, the way in which the raw GPS data is disseminated is unique and supposedly leads to better accuracy than traditional GPS systems. Gevas Software’s (Stand 11.717) role in the Travolution project alongside Audi, the Technical University of Munich, and the City of Ingolstadt was to develop the genetic algorithms that are used in the traffic-adaptive network control in this intelligent ‘green wave’ scheme. The project goes beyond optimising traffic signals, however, and offers an ‘informed driver system’. Waiting times have been reduced by 21 per cent, as verified by TU Munich studies. “Using modern mathematics to conduct network optimisation, it is seemingly working, reducing stops and traffic times, which will have a subsequent impact on the environment,” Wegman said of the award.
Audi’s involvement, too, was also deemed as crucial from a cooperative systems point of view. “It is vital that car-makers have a role in this type of development. We agreed that the Biopark fingerprint identification system from Lidror (Stand 02.115) was the most innovative idea of the three entrants in the parking category, addressing a serious problem in society – that of forging disabled parking badges,” Wegman explained.
“Although it could potentially save millions for authorities, it more importantly addresses a vulnerable section of road users. In terms of the technology used, it ticks all of the innovation boxes; it’s very clever, particularly the movement functionality, which means you cannot pass it on to someone else while it is working. It’s low cost, effective and well thought through.” Proving that innovative doesn’t have to be complex, the Intelligent Speed Bump from Badennova (Stand 11.721) stirred much interest among the judges.
“It’s a nice innovation in which the laws of physics and chemistry are applied to an application in road traffic,” Wegman said of the company’s win in the Safety category. “It’s been well demonstrated in the sense that we have seen how it works, but it will be interesting to see how it is deployed in the future.”
A liquid/solid gel forms the heart of the speed bump, which when impacted at speeds over a set limit will provide the same resistance as a normal speed bump. Drive over the top of it at the appropriate speed, however, and you wouldn’t even know it was there. Simple but incredibly innovative was the overall impression from the judging panel. It was perhaps fitting that for this 20th edition of Intertraffic Amsterdam, a local supplier has come out on top in the Environment category. Enforcement specialist, Gatsometer (Stand 01.314), was the technology supplier behind Amsterdam’s Environmental Zone, which went into effect in September 2009. Utilising automatic number plate recognition technology, the fact that the system is so effective (95 per cent read rate and only 0.02 per cent error rate) at pinpointing polluting trucks has meant the compliance rate has reached levels of 98 per cent, meaning cleaner air for everyone in the beautiful city of Amsterdam. “While cleaner air is the initial benefit, we feel that the ‘gentle’ persuasion for the trucking industry to clean up its act is also an important side-benefit,” Wegman stated.
Last but by no means least, the Infrastructure prize went to a company from the UK for an idea perhaps inspired by life out on the open sea. The VMC pole from Crown International (Stand 11.930) is a wind-up-wind-down cantilever system, similar to a rigging system on a yacht, which is designed for simplified and safer maintenance of traffic infrastructure, such as motorway VMS. “There is a good concept behind this pole, in terms of minimising as far as possible the negative impact from travel disruption upon road users, in terms of closing down lanes for maintenance and so on,” Wegman said.
“It is a simple idea, but it was working, it’s being deployed, and seems to boast impressive results in terms of return on investment, safety, and reduced disruption to road users.” The international awards jury, meeting on Monday 22 March, put the six winners at the top of a shortlist of 17 exhibitors from nine countries, which it selected in January from a total of 86 initial submissions.
Intertraffic is the number one trade fair formula in the traffic and transport industry. Since its launch in 1972, Intertraffic Amsterdam has become the platform of choice for professionals from around the world to meet. It is a biennial must attend event to stay up to speed on the developments in the fields of infrastructure, traffic management, safety and parking. The world’s leading companies premier their latest products and techniques during a 4-day revelry of business gatherings and learning opportunities.