May Gulbrandsen of Q-Free
has arrived in the Danish road management sector in spectacular fashion and is highlighting here at the ITS World Congress a NOK70 million (US$8.4m) contract to upgrade and support the tolling system on Denmark’s most prestigious engineering project, the Storebælt Bridge.
Opened in 1998, the Storebælt Bridge, together with the Oresund Bridge, has transformed road access from Continental Europe to Northern Scandinavia. A 60-minute ferry crossing has been reduced to a 10-15 minute car journey, with a corresponding effect on traffic volumes: total numbers of vehicles crossing the Storebælt strait increased by 185% in the first year of operation alone. The average per day now stands at 35,000, with recorded peaks of 52,000. The bridge uses an all-barrier tolling system. DSRC transponders provide access to a number of non-stop express lanes. All other lanes are stop-and-go card or cash payment.
Under the contract, Q-Free will provide a new video-based solution for the majority of the non-express lanes. This will read subscribing vehicles’ licence plates and open barriers to allow passage at up to 50km/h. Throughput per lane will increase to 900 vehicles per hour.
“‘Pay by plate’ involves a complete redesign of the bridge’s tolling facilities and reflects video’s growing capabilities,” says Villads Sondergaard, Q-Free’s Storebælt Bridge project owner.
“DSRC remains the class-leading technology for tolling. However, but for discrete applications, such as single-lane tolling, video’s performance level is now coming very close. The user experience will be supported by a range of pre- and post-payment methods.”
To minimise service disruption and effects on revenue collection, this world-first application of video for bridge tolling will be delivered on a lane-by-lane basis. Installation work will finish in autumn 2019, and Q-Free will also upgrade the back office system and provide maintenance support.