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15 Mar 2022

Abertis and Vaisala join forces to improve road safety through innovation

Abertis and Vaisala join forces to improve road safety through innovation

  • Both companies are promoting a pilot project on how to reduce the formation of ice on roads with the aim of increasing driver safety.
  • In addition, through the data technology provided by Vaisala, the meteorological effects that affect driving are analyzed for road maintenance decisions, optimizing the use of anti-icing treatment materials.
  • The participation of Abertis in this pilot test is one more example of the Group's commitment to innovation, adapting the infrastructure of its road network to the new challenges of future mobility, more sustainable and connected.

Madrid, March 14th, 2022. – Abertis, global leader in toll road management, and Vaisala, a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements, are conducting a pilot study on how to reduce ice formation on highway to increase driver safety. Specifically, they are investigating how Vaisala's road weather technology can be used, which captures its effects that affect driving and can support winter maintenance decisions on roads, particularly regarding the optimization of the use of anti-icing treatment materials.

For this, a joint team of Abertis’ traffic, road and safety experts and Vaisala’s road weather experts are collecting and analyzing data during the 2021–2022 winter season to understand in more detail how, for example, salt used in the cold months for road maintenance behaves, how the long residual of it remains on the surface of the pavement and what factors affect this.

“This project is part of Abertis’ Advanced Digital Analytics for Operations program, which is one of the key areas in our innovation plan. The objective is to use the data that we obtain from Vaisala’s solution to build better predictive models to enable us to improve weather operations in our road networks in France, Spain and Italy,” says Antonio Duran, Global Head of Innovation at Abertis. In this regard, he adds that what’s even more important is that “we want to enhance safety on our highways as well as optimize the amount of road treatment material that we use to ensure that the action is as sustainable as possible.”

Abertis' participation in this pilot test is one more example of the Group's commitment to innovation, increasing its vision towards initiatives that help improve business management. In this way, work is being done to adapt the infrastructure of its road network to the new challenges of future mobility, more sustainable and connected, and which will involve the identification of new growth opportunities. "At Abertis we will continue to strengthen links with the ecosystem, betting on open and participatory innovation," says Antonio Duran.

The importance of data for decision-making in driving

Road weather technology is critical for winter and summer pavement maintenance since effective operations can all be affected by weather conditions. Regardless of the application, accurate data regarding highway conditions, from snow and ice to wind, sandstorms, or flooding, empowers road decision making with crucial information.  Furthermore, knowing the onset time of such impacts on the road surface in advance enables more effective treatment. 

“We are thrilled to be working with Abertis on this pilot project where we have formed a strong partnership. Our measurement site in the pilot section of Abertis’ network in the North of France is used to determine how long the salt remains once it’s been applied. We are also using data fusion techniques to provide better information about weather conditions across the road network,” says Rachel Adams, Head of Winter Maintenance at Vaisala. “When it comes to winter highway maintenance, better decisions can save lives and deliver a sustainable approach to operations. Understanding the potential impact of weather on the road network is critical for maintaining transportation safety and mobility.”

Vaisala’s road weather systems, sensors, and solutions monitor roadways for specific weather parameters so that pavement agencies can act effectively or warn travellers. With Vaisala’s road weather technology, all road maintenance decisions are based on accurate and reliable measurement data, which improves safety and operational efficiency.

About Abertis

Abertis is the leading international operator in the development and management of high-capacity and quality roads, designed under strict criteria of sustainability and innovation, and high safety standards, with about 8,000 kilometres spread over 16 countries in Europe, America, and Asia. With more than 60 years of experience, Abertis has positioned itself as a benchmark in the sustainable management of road infrastructures, through technology and innovation, helping to transform the mobility of the future.

About Vaisala

Vaisala is a global leader in weather, environmental, and industrial measurements. Building on over 85 years of experience, Vaisala provides observations for a better world, with space-proof technology even exploring Mars and beyond. We are a reliable partner for customers around the world, offering a comprehensive range of innovative observation and measurement products and services. Headquartered in Finland, Vaisala employs over 1,900 professionals worldwide and is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki stock exchange.