Tollway spends B300m on Smart

Tollway spends B300m on Smart

An aerial view of Don Muang Tollway from a building in Lat Phrao Square.
An aerial view of Don Muang Tollway from a building in Lat Phrao Square.

Don Muang Tollway is spending 300 million baht to implementing the Smart project, a traffic control management system to be complete by the end of 2020.

Short for Safe, Manageable, Accurate, Reliable Traffic control, the Smart project is part of a plan to efficiently manage traffic in line with the government's Thailand 4.0 initiative.

The existing traffic management system has been used for 30 years, while technology has been developed and modernised in the meantime, said Sakda Panwai, executive vice-president of Don Muang Tollway Plc.

The three-year project started in 2018 with the installation of a traffic management room and IT backbone. Next year brings implementation of the artificial intelligence (AI) system and traffic displays.

In early 2020, trial runs of the new system will begin to make sure the AI software is working well.

Of the 300-million-baht budget, the AI software cost is about 20%. The rest is to replace old equipment and build the control room.

The tollway's surveillance system so far is 100% manually functioning. The existing system takes time to be able to detect something wrong, or objects dropped on the expressway, or whether an accident happened.

The new system can automatically detect objects so that staff can deal with the problem immediately.

"The new system is beneficial to both people who commute on the tollway, who can get assistance faster in case of an accident, and tollway employees who can work more efficiently," Mr Sakda said.

One thing drivers will notice in the new system is that the traffic display board on the tollway can show how long it takes from one location to another in real time.

"Data of vehicles on the road will be sent to be processed by the control system and then shown on the traffic display board," Mr Sakda said.

The Smart project is part of 900 million baht worth of upgrades at Don Muang Tollway. The other parts are 300 million baht to replace the manual toll collection system, 100 million baht for integration to support M Pass and Easy Pass, and 200 million baht for physical tollway lane improvements.

In 2018, some 100,000 vehicles a day use the tollway, up 2% from last year.

Don Muang Tollway has had zero fatal accidents for several years, Mr Sakda said.

He said accidents this year have involved fewer than 200 cars, with 50% of them a case of one car rear-ending another.

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