Prague plans high-tech road signs

A network of portals will offer estimated travel times and alternate routes

Prague drivers should be able to get more information about traffic and how long it takes to reach their destination. The city is looking for a supplier to provide a system of electronic signs that estimate travel time and offer alternative routes.

The project has already faced a one-year delay, and its estimated cost is Kč 167 million. The winner of the tender will have five years to install the system. Prague has included the project in its Smart City policy.

The new signs would be part of a system already in place. “This is an extension [of the information system] to other roads that connect to the city’s inner ring road,” Technical Roadways Administration (TSK) spokeswoman Barbora Lišková said, according to press reports.

Some electronic information signs will be replaced, and a total of 85 signs with traffic information and 115 camera systems will be installed. Currently, the TSK operates 40 information signs. The transit time will be measured for a total of 84 road segments. The signs will appear in 39 new locations, 24 of which are near the city center, and 15 in the direction of the center.

The technical design of the system is up to the bidders. The cameras should be able to read vehicle registration plates, but the information will not be used to measure speeding. The current system can already read vehicle registrations, but the information is made anonymous at the camera level due to privacy concerns. The anonymous information is used to plan traffic flow, according to the TSK.

The anonymous data captured by cameras or Bluetooth scanners can still be used to track individual vehicles from one electronic checkpoint to another to estimate the time it takes to travel, without humans having access to specific vehicle data.

The launch of the tender has been delayed for a year due to the issues regarding funding. Prague wants to get European Union subsidies for the project, which complicated the technical details of the contract.

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