Stockholm highlights benefits of its Bluetooth-based traffic monitoring system

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The traffic authority in Sweden’s capital city is hailing the success of the BlipTrack Bluetooth-based queue and traffic flow measurement technology that it deployed across the city earlier this year to provide drivers with up-to-date travel times.

After reviewing several systems, Trafik Stockholm deployed in February the system from Danish company Blip Systems, which is now alleviating congestion and giving road users more accurate, live traffic information.

The technology uses real-time and historical travel and flow data gathered directly from road users’ Bluetooth and wi-fi devices, and provides the city with detailed statistical information on the travel times, average speeds, dwell times, and movement patterns. The analyzed data provides live traffic information for the agency’s website and is also displayed on variable message signs (VMS) around the city.

During the selection process, Trafik Stockholm found that crowd-sourced and probe-data services from well-known international traffic data providers were unable to provide the individual origin/destination vehicle data over specific distances, which were required to detect driving time anomalies.

“South of Stockholm, where we first installed the solution, will be a roadwork zone for many years ahead, when building the Stockholm Bypass. It will not only affect the main highway (E4) running through the work zone, but also the surrounding roads,” explained Otto Astrand, traffic analyst at Trafik Stockholm.

“With BlipTrack we are able to measure the capacity and traffic flow in real time in and around the area. This allows us to take proactive steps to initiate countermeasures, if traffic build-up should occur. It also helps us to understand various traffic-related matters, such as the impact of traffic control, weather-related patterns, congestion patterns at roadworks, accidents and events, and driving behaviors and patterns. With this information, we can evaluate and validate existing traffic models and make informed decisions about where to prioritize expansions and optimizations to help the daily commute.”

Astrand continued, “Measuring travel times over longer distances in complex traffic environments is complicated to do with our traditional sensors, such as radar and microwave detectors. This solution gives us insights on how much individual journeys can differ from each other, especially when traffic lights are involved. The ability to measure travel times over longer stretches of road, with various queue lengths, and only looking at specific route choices, is another strength of the solution.”

Johanna Karlsson, CEO of Trafik Stockholm, added, “BlipTrack complements our other sensors and data sources very well. The ability to measure travel times, monitor queues and perform origin/destination analysis convinced us to adopt the solution.”

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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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