Estonia: Novel road condition monitors to be installed on intercity buses

  • 2020-11-15
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – As part of a joint project of the Road Administration, the state-owned road technical services company Teede Tehnokeskus and private bus operator Lux Express, optical road condition monitors will be installed on three more intercity buses before the start of the winter to provide road maintenance companies with real-time information about the condition of roads.

Raido Randmaa, acting director general of the the Road Administration, said that the first road condition monitor was installed on a bus in Estonia as part of a pilot project four years ago and at present seven buses equipped with such devices are moving on Estonian roads every day. 

"The past few winters have been very difficult specifically in terms of weather conditions, with air temperatures moving up and down in the region of zero degrees and road conditions changing a lot. We have been able to observe these changes via road weather stations and cameras, yet there's still only a limited number of these on the state roads," Randmaa said.

Taivo Moll, manager of the company Teede Tehnokeskus that is responsible for the installation of the monitors and analysis and relaying of the data received, said that the equipment allows to register various conditions of road surface. 

"Such as snow on the road surface or the formation of ice in its early stages, air temperature and road surface temperature, and thickness of a water layer. In addition, the camera installed on a bus sends photos of the road surface," Moll said.

According to Moll, road conditions on our highways can change completely in 30 minutes and the information retrieved from the monitors enables road maintenance companies to respond faster and bus dispatchers and drivers to take measures and be prepared. 

All the main intercity bus routes, or Tallinn-Narva, Narva-Tartu, Tallinn-Parnu, Tallinn-Tartu and Tartu-Parnu will be covered.

The information also reaches the Road Administration's traffic control center, which will be able to issue warnings to motorists earlier. 

In addition to the optical monitors installed on buses, companies in charge of the maintenance of state roads in three of Estonia's 15 counties will be using optical monitors on their vehicles for the first time this winter to more rapidly identify icy road sections, conduct maintenance work with greater precision and check for the efficiency of the works performed. 

The new optical monitors to be installed on buses of Lux Express were acquired by the Road Administration.