Helsinki regulates vehicular access with smarts

Helsinki regulates vehicular access with smarts

During spring 2012 the Finnish capital Helsinki has put an intelligent vehicle access control system for its city center into operation. Authorizing selective vehicle groups for access has proven to be an effective method for reducing unnecessary traffic volume in city centers. By applying this technology, the city of Helsinki strives to make its city center cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly, increase road safety and reduce hazardous emissions. The Dutch company Nedap developed the technology that enables selective vehicle access control and the installation of the system is carried out by Finnish company Visy. Helsinki considers expanding the vehicle restricted zone in its city centre in 2013.

To increase the liveability and economic vitality significantly, Helsinki wishes to reduce the volume of motorized vehicles in its city center and regulate the amount of traffic movements, while taking into account the dynamic aspects of the city traffic. Residents, retailers, suppliers, taxis and emergency services seek access to the heart of Helsinki at various times and for a wide range of reasons. The vehicle access control system enables selective vehicle target groups with a valid permit to enter the city centre automatically, securely and conveniently. The system offers a high degree of flexibility in granting access rights to vehicles, based on need, route, destination and time of day.

The Finnish company Visy installed the intelligent system at three access roads to the city center. At each gate various technologies for identification and communication are installed that are locally integrated and remotely controlled. Long range RFID technology is used to identify vehicles. A vehicle management controller (VMC) controls connects to barriers, traffic lights and RFID readers and controls their activity. The VMC hardware layout and purpose built embedded software enables a clean installation that is easily maintained. In the past decade, Nedap has successfully implemented these controllers in a large number of Dutch cities to enable intelligent vehicle access control. The city of Helsinki perceived the results as positive and currently considers to scale up the number of restricted traffic zones in the city.



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