New fog warning system in Venice region pays for itself 10 times over

October 25, 2010

Fog is a relatively frequent phenomenon in the Po Valley and constitutes a major issue for all road traffic. The new fog warning system covers and benefits the entire Venice Region, combining VTT`s know-how on intelligent transport and evaluation of information services. The system is expected to provide services for regular and professional motorists and transport companies as well as authorities. These types of warning solutions are expected to be in demand on a larger scale in the future as they have positive safety effects and are very profitable socio-economically. The fog warning system's uniqueness lies in its regionality and in its integrated monitoring systems, combining data from land-based visibility sensors with satellite data. So far, ten visibility sensors have been installed in the Venice Region, with more in the pipeline.

The fog warning system will help to prevent accidents and save socio-economic costs. The forecasted socio-economic cost-benefit ratio, comparing a project's benefits to its costs, is an extremely high 9.4, meaning that the system pays itself back ten times over within ten years. Likewise in other words, the payback time for the investment in the system is about one year.

According to technical tests, the fog warning system is capable of providing reliable warning services. The system has demonstrated minimal service breaks and real time functionality. Authorities and other user groups in the Venice Region have shown great interest in using the system. ARPAV (the region's meteorological service) operates the system and as a result of its implementation has been able to assemble a more extensive cooperation network in line with VTT`s recommendations.

The fog warning system build-up is one of the pilots of the ROADIDEA project forming part of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union. The pilot was built and put into operation during the project. Fog Pilot is built by ARPAV, the meteorological service for the Venice Region. The pilot's goals were to prove the fog warning system's technical functionality and to create an operating model for producing different warning and forecast services and communicating information efficiently to end users. VTT assisted in planning the pilot, particularly with regard to the system's utilisation possibilities and pre-evaluating socio-economical effects. VTT also evaluated the system's productional model and potential customers for the service.
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VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

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