Italian Engineers Newspaper under the section C3I (ICT Commission) has published an interesting article about Smart Roads.

Italian Engineers Newspaper under the section C3I (ICT Commission) has published an interesting article about Smart Roads. The article highlights the best systems to detect the traffic flow. The translation in English is also available

THE “SMART ROAD” DECREE AND TRAFFIC DETECTION SYSTEMS IN ITALY to support the application of information and communication technologies in the road transport sector.

With a view to modernizing and computerizing road infrastructures, with Ministerial Decree 70 of 2018, the Italian Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport intended to launch the regulation of the digital transformation process and support the application of information and communication technologies to road transport sector with the aim of introducing traffic monitoring platforms, information processing models and advanced services for infrastructure managers and road users as well as improving environmental performance and efficiency, including energy efficiency.

The objectives of this Decree include, among others, the improvement of road safety, traffic management and information to users.

The “Smart Road”, as defined by the Decree, falls within the scope of the broader Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and related C-ITS (Intelligent Cooperative Transport Systems) services.

Among the specifications defined in Annex A of the Decree, at point 5 there is the “Equipping of a traffic detection and enforcement system, as well as a detection of outflow conditions, articulated on a more detailed level for smart roads of the type I, in compliance with what is described in Section A (detection of traffic and flow conditions); the detection systems must have the minimum quality requirements of the measurements and comply with the qualification rules described in Section A; the system must be designed in such a way as to minimize its ecological and energy footprint.



Traffic detection systems are crucial in various applications which, in addition to improving traffic management and generating a useful service for road users, often also allow a return on investment, thus offering sustainability, at an economic level, for the investments in this type of technologies. Typical examples of traffic detection systems applications are:

  1. Management of Limited Traffic Zones (ZTL);
  2. Management of toll systems (with barrier or free-flow);
  3. Management of car parks (free or paid);
  4. Management of toll and non-toll roads;
  5. Protection of infrastructures as regards the maximum height of vehicles;
  6. Violations of the highway code.
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The Decree does not enter into the details of technologies and does not suggest the use of a specific technology over another, but emphasizes the following requirements:

  • Transit data must be collected for all vehicles passing through the control road section and not just on a sample;
  • The Detection must be ensured 24 hours a day for every day of the year and given that attention has also been paid to energy sustainability, the systems must be such that they can always guarantee detection even when, in certain periods of the year unfavorable conditions may occur, for example to systems powered by photovoltaic panels;
  • The place of the Detection must be suitably identified by indicating at least the road, the georeferencing, the kilometer, the carriageway, the direction of travel, the technology used and the identification of the Detection station;
  • The Decree provides that all counted vehicles are classified into at least 8 + 1 classes (motorcycles, cars, cars with trailers, vans, trucks, semitrucks, truck trailers, buses, other), that the transit speed, the instant of detection, the length of the vehicle, the temporal headway (head-to-head or tail-to-tail distance between one vehicle and the next) and the queue presence at the detection station;
  • It is also required that the measurements are separated for each lane and that the carriageway and lane to which the lane belongs is indicated;
  • The detection of vehicles moving in the wrong direction is also required in order to generate an alarm when the event occurs;
  • The detection must be continuous and a high granularity of the data is required, that is, all the characteristics of the passage of each individual vehicle must be detected;
  • Regarding the operating conditions, operation with an extended temperature range from -20 ° C to + 55 ° C is required;
  • It is required that the accuracy of the measurements does not suffer appreciable degradation in regular, intense traffic, queues and stop and go conditions;