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  • Writer's pictureFenja Günther

Official start of Smart Zone Buffer with the city of Helmond for the DMI Eco-system

On Friday 19 April 2024 we found a moment to make it official! The Municipality of Helmond, DMI Eco-system, SWARCO, MAPtm, V-Tron, Future Mobility Park, and Coding the Curbs have officially signed a collaboration agreement at Intertraffic 2024. This signage marks the official start of the Smart Zone Buffer project in Helmond as part of the DMI Eco-system. With this collaboration we hope to develop and test an intelligent access system that could be scaled in many municipalities across The Netherlands over the upcoming years.  

The Smart Zone Buffer initiative aims to address the pressing challenges faced by cities today, including road safety, quality of life, and environmental impact. As urban areas continue to grow, the demand for smarter, more sustainable infrastructure becomes increasingly crucial. And as part of the DMI Eco-system, we are aiming to contribute to a more sustainable and data driven Netherlands. 

Creating a digital city wall for intelligent access

The goal of Smart Zone Buffer is to create the digital city wall. In which a city decides who is allowed to enter, at what time and under which conditions. We will create an overarching digital system for city access, legislative rulesets and accessibility conditions for vehicles and drivers.

The basis for doing this are 4 functional verticals that are brought in by the organizations within our consortium. 

Regulating and enforcing space with UVAR

UVAR is the way to regulate and enforce space based on vehicle and user criteria. Through SWARCO’s MyCity dashboard, it will become possible to create both static and dynamic zones within urban areas, utilizing a collection of services known as “Data15”. These services gather crucial data points to ensure traffic flows are optimized for safety, efficiency, and environmental friendliness. By integrating the urban mobility management platform with various traffic control devices in Helmond, we enable precise traffic monitoring and management. 

Guiding drivers and vehicles with Traffic Management

Traffic management will be used to manage desirable routes and guide drivers / vehicles through urban areas. MAPtm contributes by implementing the Traffic Management Service Desk, which digitizes and translates urban mobility policies into operational, data-driven traffic management solutions. This service is crucial for the real-time application of smart mobility strategies in daily traffic operations. Another exciting development is the collaboration between SWARCO and TomTom, which focuses on integrating TomTom's navigation systems into the project. This integration not only advises road users on optimal routes but will soon provide real-time air quality updates within Helmond's maps, enhancing the overall user experience and safety.

Informing and aiding cities on traffic measures with ISA

ISA will be utilized to inform and encourage maximum permitted speed in the city - and to update traffic signs on the get-go. This significant feature of SmartZone Buffer is the ISA-enabled vehicles developed by V-Tron. These vehicles are equipped to read traffic signs, aiding municipalities in verifying the effectiveness of new traffic measures such as speed limits and ensuring that these align with the designated zones' guidelines.

Assigned space and multifunctionality with CTC

Coding the Curbs will be used to create digital and bookable (un)loading bays within cities.  SmartZone Buffer also enables the municipality of Helmond to dynamically assign multiple functions to urban spaces—such as parking, loading, unloading, and even terraces—within a single day, adapting to the city's immediate needs. This flexibility is crucial for managing urban spaces more efficiently and sustainably. Looking ahead, logistics providers will be able to use the SmartZone Buffer App, developed by us at Coding the Curbs, to reserve specific times for loading and unloading, streamlining logistics operations and reducing congestion. 

Additionally, TU/e and HAN University of Applied Sciences are conducting research on user experiences and the effectiveness of these implementations, ensuring that the solutions are both practical and beneficial to the community.

Collaborative Impact and the Road Ahead

This collaboration is a testament to the power of innovative public-private partnerships aimed at fostering smart, sustainable urban development. As we look to the future, the SmartZone Buffer stands as a beacon of intelligent connectivity and urban mobility, set to enhance the liveability and functionality of cities not just in the Netherlands, but around the world. We are immensely proud of our team and our partners as we take this significant step towards the future of mobility and logistics. Together, we are paving the way for cities to thrive in the era of smart and sustainable mobility. 🌍


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