Odense turns to technology to fight congestion

As the motor association calls for more local solutions, nation’s third-largest city plans to optimise traffic using Bluetooth sensors

As the debate over how to improve mobility across Denmark continues, Odense Council has announced plans to instal Bluetooth sensors for optimising traffic flow in and around the nation’s third largest city.

BlipTrack, as the system is called, will initially place sensors primarily along the motorway that encircles Odense, and will collect information about travel times and traffic flow.

“The sensors are mounted on posts at strategic points in the road network and will detect Bluetooth signals from passing cars, registering how long it takes to drive from A to B,” BLIP Systems, the company in charge of the solution, said in a press release.

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The data collected will allow Odense Council to improve the capacity of already existing roads and detect changes in traffic patterns.

“In addition, traffic lights can be adjusted to optimise traffic flows and reduce travel time, which reduces fuel consumption and in the end, CO2 emissions,” BLIP wrote. “The public can eventually also benefit from the solution to receive information about incidents and congestion – and thereby plan whether to work at home, stay a little longer at work, or choose a different route to minimise travel time."

Motorist association: local, low-cost solutions key
Odense's plan is precisely the kind of simple, local solution that is essential for reducing congestion around the country, according to the Federation of Danish Motorists (FDM).

“Councils can eliminate impediments with actions that are quick to implement and relatively low-cost,” FDM wrote in a press release.

A recent study conducted by FDM pointed to traffic delays due to road work, uncoordinated traffic lights, and improper traffic rerouting as frequent causes of congestion. According to FDM, all of these issues can be easily improved at the individual council level.

“City councils can pick the low-hanging fruit – for example to improve the planning of road work using intelligent transport systems (ITS) and use the entire capacity of the road to ensure a reasonable flow of traffic,” Thomas Møller Thomsen, the director of FDM, said. “These are all simple and inexpensive actions that are obvious and which would reduce congestion on local roads.”

Odense Council’s decision comes a week after the government dismissed the suggestion to charge car owners for every kilometre driven, a recommendation made by the transport panel, Trængelskommission. The transport minister, Pia Olsen Dyhr (Socialistisk Folkeparti), explained that she would prefer to focus on public transport and bicycle infrastructure improvements.

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