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Luís Simões tests new transport optimization solution

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Luís Simões is currently participating in a European project under Horizon 2020 - Optimum - focusing on the research and development of issues related to the optimization of transport. The project has the participation of 14 companies from eight countries and will last approximately three years. In order to test the formulated solutions more efficiently, the program selected pilot countries, with Portugal being one of the countries chosen for this experimental phase.

The optimization solution in which Luís Simões participates is the assessment of the introduction of variable prices in national tolls, an innovative and potentially more effective approach to the current fixed price scenario.

The objective of this project is to enable transport operators to access information in advance on the price to be paid on tolls and thus to be able to analyze whether the value is sufficiently appealing to opt for a motorway or a national road.

If the results of the pilot tests of the Optimum project are positive, it will be possible to prove the hypothesis of practicing variable prices, causing a transfer of transport from the national highways to the motorways, with advantages for the national road operator (cost reduction (optimization of occupancy) and for the conveyor (reduction of costs and time / comfort involved in the trip). In addition to these direct gains, the introduction of this measure could also contribute to the reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and to the reduction of environmental and social impact on populations living along national roads.

The innovative character of the Optimum solution lies in the use of Big Data provided by highway occupancy sensors, national road traffic sensors, social network information that can identify accidents or abnormal flows of media at a particular event, weather forecasts, between other variables. Later these variables are worked by an algorithm that generates prices automatically and makes them available in a timely manner in an application that is accessible online. All this process allows the transport operator information, so that you can choose, in a certain way, between the national road and the motorway.

The biggest challenge was to incorporate in the planning process a variable considered fixed: the price of the toll. It was necessary to introduce changes in the planning processes, the training of gliders and the involvement of drivers, in order to be able to evaluate more concretely the prices and the actual results of the route options. The LS is testing certain itineraries almost in the laboratory, allowing to see the gains per section of motorway, in terms of consumption and time versus toll payment. Participation in this pilot project has provided great learning for the whole team. LS has been allocated 10 vehicles and five highways are being tested in central and northern Portugal, managed by the Gaia Transactions Operations Center.

"This project is a combination of a lot of information. The creation of the algorithm is the result of the investigation of the project team in which it is integrated: LS and three other Portuguese partners (IP - Infraestruturas de Portugal, TIS.PT, and Uninova), as well as researchers from universities and technology partners from other countries of the European Union. We can mention that this project has already published scientific papers that attest to the innovative and unique character of this process ", says Pedro Ventura, Process and Compliance Director of Luís Simões.

The transport industry can have a very positive impact if it proves scientifically that the system of variable prices on motorways is more efficient than the current reality of fixed prices. This impact is also measurable at the level of sustainability, with visible gains for the various stakeholders in the process of managing road infrastructure, road transport means and also for other entities involved, such as vehicle users in general who can benefit from a more efficient management road infrastructures.

We are basically testing the development of a product that infrastructure managers can use to increase the effectiveness of asset management. In the first phase, to make available to heavy fleet operators and, in the future, be accessible to any private user.

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