Belarus serves as an important transit corridor for the Europe and Central Asia region. Well-kept roads connect people to public amenities and reduce travel time, vehicle operation costs, and accident risks.
Through the Road Upgrading and Modernization Project, the World Bank has helped Belarus to upgrade 53 km of a highway segment between Minsk and Gomel. By 2018, over 87 km of the highway linking Minsk and Grodno will be upgraded, thanks to the Transit Corridor Improvement Project.
To maintain safe and efficient road networks, and to improve their operation, the authorities need reliable, standardized, and timely data on road conditions and traffic volume. However, collecting such information through conventional methods is costly and time consuming.
Over the past two years, the Belarusian Road Engineering and Technical Center has teamed with the Bank to develop a new smartphone application called “Roadlab”. The application links drivers to road maintenance authorities and allows automatic collection of data on pavement roughness and detection of major road bumps based on smartphone accelerometers in real time.
The app also allows road users to report live road safety hazards, with precise GPS information. This user-based approach also promotes citizen engagement and enhances government accountability by enabling road agencies to promptly and strategically respond to collectively identified problems.
As a transit country, Belarus has a large number of local and foreign trucks traveling on its road network. Protecting road assets and effectively controlling truck weights are important aspects of sustaining road infrastructure, ensuring safety, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Recently, the Government implemented microwave-based e-tolling and also, with the World Bank’s assistance, the installation of a weigh-in-motion (WIM) control system to link with the existing e-tolling system.
Within the Road Upgrading and Modernization Project, Belarus also implemented a state-of-the-art system to catch overloaded trucks. It includes 12 WIM sites, four fixed heavy vehicle inspection centers, and eight mobile stations with locations strategically distributed throughout the network.
WIM control sites process raw data locally and send information on weighed vehicles to the central system unit or to mobile stations and Transport Inspection patrols. This allows to continuously monitor axle loads, making it easier to stop overweight trucks, while allowing those under the weight limit to bypass inspection.
The processed “weighing results” contain all the needed information, including time, direction, lane, weight, vehicle plate number, type, country of origin, speed, dimension, number of axles, air temperature, etc. The Ministry of Transport and Communications in Belarus has already started to use such data to analyze traffic density and traffic patterns by time and location.
More about the Road Upgrading and Modernization Project
More about the Transit Corridor Improvement Project