More than 25,000 drivers decide each day to use the Liefkenshoektunnel. By doing so, they avoid traffic jams that often form on Ring 1 around Antwerp, Belgium. Today, the tunnel is the only toll road in Belgium. When there is heavy traffic on the Ring, the Flemish Traffic Centre exempts tunnel drivers from any fees. The new TIC profiling system from SICK comes into use during these times. The TIC ensures that tunnel operator NV Tunnel Liefkenshoek knows exactly how many vehicles of what types enter the tunnel. The operator needs this information to change the Flemish government for the passage of vehicles during the period in which no direct tolls are levied.
Accurate determination of vehicle data
The TIC profiling systems have been installed over traffic lanes next to the tollbooths. They are equipped with 2D laser scanners and determine the profile of each individual vehicle. An individual 3D model is created for every vehicle whether cars with trailers, semitrailers or other trucks. An integrated computer processes the 3D models and puts the vehicles in up to 28 predefined categories. The TIC also determines the external dimensions and speeds of the vehicles.
The operator of the Liefkenshoektunnel has levied fees for 21 years. During this period, the systems for identifying vehicle classes have improved significantly. “Optical light grids for vehicle classification have normally been used at toll stations. The spray of passing vehicles quickly dirties the devices, making it necessary to clean the sensors every week,” explains Dimitri Smet, Maintenance Officer of the NV Tunnel Liefkenshoek. “Other systems were not accurate enough for precision vehicle identification during toll-free periods.
Therefore, we had to manually count vehicles based on camera images. This has significantly improved since we have started using the profiling systems. Each system has an integrated PC where all data is stored. Employees can log in over a network, search for the required information and export it as CSV files.”
A very intuitive software wizard that is self-calibrating when possible makes commissioning the TIC quick and easy.