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First Tunnel Management System in the State of Qatar

10 October 2009

Traffic Tech was awarded a contract to design, install, and commission the first Tunnel Management System (TMS) in the State of Qatar. This Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is expected to meet and exceed global safety standards for the operation of a 300 meter long tunnel, currently being constructed as part of the road infrastructure improvements around the vicinity of the New Doha International Airport. The tunnel will provide direct access to motorist coming from the inner city of Doha, Al Corniche to Ras Abu Abboud Street, heading towards the airport and the city of Wakra.

Important factors such as traveler real-time information, vehicle guidance, over-height vehicle detection, lane control, incident detection, speed enforcement and predefined emergency procedures will be managed by the system. Highly advanced components will be integrated in the system, which will be centrally controlled, and will be operated via a graphical user interface (GUI). The system can be monitored and controlled either from the control room onsite or remotely.

At the approach of the tunnel, variable message signs will display lane speed limits, lane directions, and a tunnel status warning sign that would advise motorists if the tunnel is open or closed. As an intelligent system, lane speed limits to be displayed will be dependent on vehicle volume inside the tunnel and will also vary when traffic is directed to an alternative route in case of tunnel closure. Lane control directional signs and tunnel status warning signs will give drivers an advance indication of the tunnel’s condition even before entering its approach, and will facilitate lane merging as necessary.

Additional accident prevention features will also be integrated in the system. Over speeding vehicles approaching the tunnel will be detected by cameras, and will be warned with flashing signals. In advance of the tunnel approach, an Over-height Vehicle Detection System (OVDS) will be installed to detect vehicles exceeding permitted height, and will direct them to alternative routes.

Inside the tunnel, lanes will be illuminated with light emitting devices that will be mounted on the road. In case of an emergency, motorists inside the tunnel will be directed to the nearest escape with illuminated LED signs. Emergency roadside telephone will also be available inside and outside of the tunnel, with default dialing to the tunnel’s control center and emergency services.

A camera system with automatic incident detection capability will be installed in the tunnel. This camera will trigger an alarm when it detects slow traffic movement, traffic flow in the wrong direction, close vehicle gaps, high speed differential, or even unidentified objects on the road. With its continuous recording, the operator will be prompted with pre and post video recordings which triggered the alarm which will relieve the operator from constantly monitoring the video wall. This system guarantees that the operator gains more information on the alarm cause, and will help validate an emergency case, and eventually activate necessary predefined emergency settings for the whole system.

The system’s control software will be equipped with a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). Through this, an operator will be able to control and access every single component of the system, from its traffic to its tunnel infrastructure functions, using symbolic screens rich in image, to facilitate the operator’s task.

In the event of an accident inside the tunnel, the incident detection cameras will trigger an alarm, which the operator can validate through the GUI. If the incident is severe and requires closure of the tunnel, the operator can select a predefined configuration for the system to display all the necessary information on the variable message signs at the approach of the tunnel, to direct all vehicles to an alternative route. The tunnel can then be closed to traffic until the incident is resolved, to reduce further complications.

Traffic Tech worked closely with the main contractor and the consultant of this road network expansion project,  Midmac & Yuksel JV and Cansult Maunsell respectively, in providing professional advice during the project’s design conceptualization stage. “With our aim to promote safety in road infrastructures, we have recommended all the necessary components that must be integrated into this Tunnel Management System”, says Abdel Rahman Al Khateeb, Traffic Tech’s EVP & COO, “our decades of experience, established partnership with our suppliers, and passion in traffic engineering, strengthens our clients confidence in our solutions”, he further adds.

The tunnel, together with the management system, will be operational by December 2009. Once opened, motorists will have an easier and safe access towards the new airport which will help relieve congestions in neighboring roads while offer a short cut to new destinations.

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