Building sites are erected so frequently that commuters can barely tell them apart and quickly find themselves stuck in traffic jam after traffic jam. Now, the Workplace Solutions GmbH (WPS) and the Landesbetrieb Straßen, Brücken und Gewässer der Stadt Hamburg (LSBG), have come up with a unique software-based solution called “ROADS” which stands for “Roadwork Adminstration and Decision System” to co-ordinate building sites and roadworks better and of course to alleviate congestion for motorists.
Interactive planning table with touch screen interface
The ROADS software stores the most important data about construction sites, as well as major events and holiday dates. All these data are visualized on a multi-touch table to deduce whether building measures might be combined or relocated. Experts can discuss these and other pressing issues at the planning table and play through various scenarios on screen. “The system brings together the various players in the LSBG, the district offices and management. They can easily identify time overlaps and improve planning accordingly,” said Dr. Eugen Reiswich, Project Manager at WPS.
How much traffic at what time of day?
However, ROADS cannot show the practical side of plans. How does the construction site actually influence traffic and how much congestion does it cause at different times of day? For how long should a motorist expect to be stuck in a traffic jam? Are there planning alternatives and how can their effects on traffic be simulated? “We want to identify problematic situations as far as possible before they hit the road,” said Reiswich.
To achieve this goal, WPS and the Chair for Human-Computer Interaction at the Department of Computer Science at the University of Hamburg have started a joint research and development project, which is receiving around EUR 500,000 in funds from the IFB Hamburg as part of the programme “PROFI Transfer Plus”. The programme supports innovative projects across diverse industries in which Hamburg-based companies, universities and research institutions work closely together.
WPS and University of Hamburg searching for solution
The Interactive Big Data Analyses for Planning Construction Measures (iPlanB) is an additional module of ROADS. It processes data on traffic as well as the latest and previous data. WPS develops the software and visualizes the data with the help of the University of Hamburg. “We want to present large amounts of data as comprehensibly as possible. Users should be able to grasp the situation quickly, assess it and develop alternative solutions,” Reiswich explained. Roads, water and electricity lines are all visible. Hopes are now high that all those working on a building site can soon be able to co-ordinate their efforts in this way.
Model for other cities
Research is expensive and would not be feasible without IFB funding, Reiswich noted, adding: “Planning a construction site is a very complex process and involves several participants. It requires in-depth research and can hardly be carried out unaided.” Funding for the project expires in late 2019 and a prototype of iPlanB is already up and running. The aim is to reduce the efforts and costs of planning, to avoid congestion hours and pollution. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg support the project. And if it lives up to expectations, this as yet unrivalled project might interest other cities.
Sources and further information:
A report on the project and the innovators’ contacts details are available on: