Bluetooth sensors from Blip Systems ease traffic congestion in Thai capital

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Thailand’s Department of Highways (DOH) has been trialing a Bluetooth-based monitoring system that provides its engineers with real-time traffic information, in order to help road users choose the fastest route and ease congestion around the country’s capital.

Bangkok is considered to have some of the worst traffic congestion in the world, particularly during Thailand’s new year holiday in mid-April, and the international new year holiday, as millions leave the capital to celebrate with their families. Faced with the challenges of trying to ease traffic and reduce the gridlocks, the DOH needed a solution to help provide detailed, live traffic information. To help manage the challenges of measuring and providing travel-time and traffic flow information, and predict traffic build-up, the DOH selected Danish-made BlipTrack sensors.

“The solution works by placing our BlipTrack sensors at strategic points along the roads. The sensors, covering roughly a 373-mile (600km) section of highway in and around Bangkok, detect Bluetooth or wi-fi devices found in mobile phones and in-car audio and communication systems,” explained Christian Bugislaus Carstens, marketing manager at Blip Systems.

“By re-identifying the devices from multiple sensors, specific and accurate statistical information, such as the travel times, average speeds, dwell times, and movement patterns become available.”

The DOH wanted to measure and compare travel times on the Intercity Motorway, Bangkok Expressway, and neighboring routes in the city, and present real-time traffic information to road users via the agency’s ‘Thailand Highway Traffic’ mobile app during the major holiday periods, in order to help them make informed decisions when planning trips. The app, which provides information on travel times, fastest routes and other traffic information, is continually updated, in line with road users’ actual behavior. By considering their route and the time they depart, the motorists themselves are helping to keep the traffic moving. The BlipTrack data will ultimately help to improve the economic benefits through reduced travel times, fuel consumption, and vehicle emissions. After the successful trial, the DOH is planning to expand the system and deploy 100+ sensors to cover every main highway, within a 155-mile (250km) range around Bangkok.

JJ Nutayakul, managing director at New Trend Development Co., Blip Systems’ Thailand partner, commented, “This is the first project ever in Thailand, where this kind of traffic technology has been implemented, and it has shown great results. The client, the Department of Highways, is very pleased with how fast the installation has been, the ease of configuration and the hardware reliability. The solution gives more accurate travel-time data compared with spot speed data collected from radar and ANPR cameras. In addition, it is much easier and faster to deploy and comes with a 3G communication option for real-time upload of data. Furthermore, the origin/destination data is used by city engineers to gain an in-depth insight into the understanding of traffic flows and the development of traffic jams, in order to optimize the road network and reduce congestion.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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