Digital road signs get mobile phone real-time updates in Denmark

Dynamic digital signs updated in real-time by mobile phones and motorists’ driving behaviour have been deployed in the Danish city of Aarhus to cut down delays and traffic.

A total of ten traffic signs that feature information about driving times, alternative routes and weather conditions have been placed on the city’s busiest roads. The content of the signs is updated on an ongoing basis with data pulled from headsets and mobile phones. Motorists can also contribute with information based on routes and the time it takes to arrive at destination.

Claus Pedersen, head of the Centre for City Use in Aarhus, said: “The messages on the signs have been developed and adapted based on studies of commuters and reflect information that the target group both demands and respects.”

Aarhus is notorious for its congested roads, and officials hope that the adoption of new signs will smooth the traffic flow and make journeys shorter for those on the go. The dynamic signs receive traffic data from 125 sensors that are placed on selected roads. The sensors connect to any available hands-free systems and mobile phones via Bluetooth whenever a MAC address – anonymous ID – passes by, and the data is then recorded, encrypted and time-stamped.

The data is sent to a server where it is filtered and analysed to provide an accurate picture about each road user and their travel times, dwell times and movement patterns. The information is fed back to traffic engineers about queues and delays so they can identify the problem areas and calibrate the changes in driving patterns.

The Port of Aalborg is another example that makes use of BlipTrack technology to let more than 10,000 people who travel in the area know what the road conditions are. The Port has placed an information sign at the exit from the port area to show lorry drivers the fastest route to the highway.

Mette Schmidt, chief technical officer for the Port of Aalborg, said: “You can often save minutes by driving the proper route, so by giving motorists information about driving times we make it easier for them to find their way around in the port area and to avoid any possible queues and wasted time.”

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