Intelligent Traffic System Makes Hamburg’s Elb-Tunnel More Efficient

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LED lights embedded with Echelon's LonWorks control technology
LED lights embedded with Echelon’s LonWorks control technology.

Echelon’s LonWorks technology is being used in Hamburg, Germany to help move traffic safely through the Elb-Tunnel. The traffic guidance solution uses light emitting diode lights embedded with Echelon’s LonWorks control technology to guide cars through the 3.2 kilometer tunnel, optimizing traffic flow and reducing pollution. Up to 150,000 vehicles per day use the tunnel.

The highly robust surface lights are similar to those used by aircraft while taxiing to or from airport terminals. The new system replaces the mechanical guidance system (concrete blocks or beacons) for directing traffic into the correct lanes, a laborious and dangerous task involving the manual repositioning of the blocks or beacons according to various traffic situations, which is a costly and time-consuming exercise.

The solution, developed by WHO Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH as a subcontractor of SIEMENS AG – Traffic Solutions for this project, features over 650 electronically controlled LED surface lights that lead up to the tunnel. The light fixtures are networked using Echelon’s power line communication technology, allowing them to communicate over existing power lines. The LED lighting network is connected by Echelon’s i.LON 100 Internet Servers to the tunnel operator’s IT infrastructure and control center, helping crews make real-time decisions about traffic control and system maintenance.

“In this application, safety is paramount. We selected the LonWorks technology for this solution due to its proven reliability, ability to communicate over existing power lines, and because it is an international standard for control. This helps reduce installation cost and time,” said Detlef Thon, a managing partner at WHO.

“This solution is an example of the flexibility of the LonWorks technology, and its ability to help solve complex issues, such as traffic control and safety,” said Martin Boettner, sales director, Germany and Eastern Europe, Echelon GmbH. “Our power line technology offers the most robust, lowest-cost way to communicate over power lines and has earned a reputation for reliability in systems all over the world.”

WHO Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH is among the world’s leading service providers and developers in the LonWorks technology field. Formed in 1995, WHO develops customized hardware and software products.

Echelon is leading the worldwide transformation of the electricity grid into a smart, communicating energy network, connecting utilities to their customers, enabling networking of everyday devices, and providing customers with energy aware homes and businesses that react to conditions on the grid.

Echelon’s NES System – the backbone for the smart grid – is used by utilities to replace existing stand-alone electricity meters with a network infrastructure that is open, inexpensive, reliable, and proven. The NES System helps utilities compete more effectively, reduce operating costs, provide expanded services and help energy users manage and reduce overall energy use. Echelon’s LonWorks Infrastructure products extend the smart grid, powering tens of millions of energy aware, everyday devices made by thousands of companies – connecting them to each other, to the electricity grid and to the Internet. LonWorks based products work together to monitor and save energy; lower costs; improve productivity; and enhance service, quality, safety, and convenience in utility, municipal, building, industrial, transportation, and home area networks.


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