Three integrated smart city systems to be deployed in Saudi Arabia


Austrian transportation technology giant Kapsch TrafficCom is continuing with a massive project in the Middle East that combines traffic management, enforcement and security to help create three smart cities.

The integrated program in Saudi Arabia is Kapsch’s largest project in the Middle East and it involves three cities, three command and control centers, and almost 3,000 pieces of equipment. Implemented in the cities of Makkah, Madinah and Jeddah (Mecca, Medina and Jedda), the ATVAM (Automatic Traffic Violations Administering and Monitoring) is one of the largest smart transportation projects in the Middle East.

Since operations started in 2015, the results are already measurable. For example, travel time within Madinah city center has been cut by 40%, and security and services to citizens have also improved. In addition, carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions have been cut by 300kg per year per junction where the technology has been deployed.

Work on the ATVAM project started in 2008, as part of a BOT (Build Operate Transfer) contract, awarded and managed by local company Dallah Trans Arabia (DTA). The BOT also included a fully-fledged traffic enforcement system to help finance the smart transportation elements of the scheme.

When the need for an intelligent transportation system (ITS) was identified, it was Kapsch TrafficCom Saudi Arabia that established the first comprehensive ITS and security project under one umbrella. The ATVAM project is an integral smart city initiative that includes the implementation and management of a varied range of technological solutions that are focused on optimizing urban traffic control and increasing road safety in the three Saudi cities, as part of the Kingdom’s ambitious ‘Vision 2030’ program.

To better guide vehicles through the narrow streets of the Makkah and Madinah city centers, and to substantially cut CO₂ emissions, Kapsch has implemented its EcoTrafiX traffic management platform. The real-time reactive adaptive traffic control software system optimizes vehicle flow and responds to traffic or security events as they happen. So far, the project has seen the deployment of:

• Three Control and Command Centers equipped with Kapsch EcoTrafiX software;

• 125 intersections covered with state-of-the-art controllers;

• 105 CCTV and video-based Incident Detection Systems (IDS) at key points, ensuring security, monitoring and quick response time;

• 48 Dynamic Message Signs (DMS), to inform drivers in real time and optimize traffic flow;

• 48 sites covered by Lane Control Signs and Vehicle Speed Limit Signs, for quick response in infrastructure optimization through incident management systems;

• 42 License Plate Recognition (LPR) gantries around the city, for heightened security, based on a ‘black list’ of wanted vehicles;

• 2,097 Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) geolocation systems fitted in police vehicles;

• 79 Mobile LPR systems mounted on police cars, for heightened security and optimized response times.

Next steps for the project include the expansion of the overall system, the upgrade of main avenues and tunnels, equipping more smart buses, and the deployment of a smart parking system.

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About Author


Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.