Pioneering winter maintenance in Gothenburg with connected vehicles

The city of Gothenburg has successfully implemented NIRA Dynamics' Winter Road Insights (WRI) to revolutionize its winter maintenance operations, making them more modern, efficient, and sustainable. As the first municipality in the world to test and evaluate the benefits of using digital road condition information, Gothenburg has set a new standard for winter road maintenance.

The implementation includes real-time monitoring and alert systems for dangerous road conditions. Connected vehicles in Gothenburg continuously measure road friction, providing a representative picture of road conditions that is more accurate than traditional methods.

Project Highlights

Enhanced Planning and Execution: By leveraging real-time data from a combination of fixed and mobile sensors, including road friction data from connected vehicles, Gothenburg has optimized its winter maintenance planning, execution, and follow-up processes. This data-driven approach ensures that winter road maintenance actions are timely and effective, reducing the costs and improving road safety.

Comprehensive Data Collection: The project utilized anonymized vehicle-to-infrastructure data, such as road friction, air temperature, and GPS positioning. This data was combined in a process together with decision support systems, road condition forecasts and GPS tracked treatment data to create a feedback loop where the organization could keep learning and improving. Making the winter maintenance more and more efficient for every winter weather event.

Environmental and Social Sustainability: The project also focused on improving ecological and social sustainability. By optimizing resource use, such as reducing salt and other de-icing chemicals, the environmental impact of winter maintenance is minimized. The project also improves the working conditions for maintenance personnel, making the industry more attractive and equitable.

Potential Next Steps

Building on the success of this project, Gothenburg is poised to continue innovating its winter road maintenance strategies. The project identified the need for a complete winter maintenance system. A system that includes decision support through forecasts, operational data from maintenance vehicles, and the measured outcome from friction data from connected vehicles. Such a tool would provide a comprehensive view of winter maintenance performance, enabling the city to monitor compliance with set standards and ensure effective use of resources. 

Future steps could include:

  • Expanding Data Integration: Further integration of additional data sources and advanced analytics to refine forecasts and maintenance strategies.
  • Scaling the Solution: Extending the implementation to cover more areas and potentially other municipalities, setting a broader benchmark for winter road maintenance.
  • Continuous Improvement: Ongoing validation and enhancement of the data collection and processing methods to ensure the highest accuracy and reliability.
  • Community Engagement: Increasing public awareness and engagement about the benefits of digital winter road maintenance to gain broader support and collaboration.

Gothenburg’s pioneering efforts in using digital road condition information for winter maintenance demonstrate the potential for other cities to achieve similar improvements in efficiency, safety, and sustainability.