Preserving its status as one of the world’s most attractive tourist destinations, the City of Dubrovnik, with its Old Town inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List, requires planned management and careful strategic planning. This is particularly important for the transport sector, often specified as the city’s greatest challenge. The City of Dubrovnik is faced with the issue of a traffic demand far in excess of its existing capacities. The area around the Old Town is overburdened by traffic, creating harmful impacts on the environment, quality of life and tourism of the City of Dubrovnik.
That is why KING ICT and Hrvatski Telekom d.d. have successfully implemented equipment in the city to set up a congestion charge zone around the historical Old Town core, and the system has been put into trial operation. This is the first project of its kind in Croatia, based on an innovative software solution that fits in perfectly with the Smart City concept adopted by the City of Dubrovnik.
Push and Pull methods
In order to ensure the sustainability of the system, it is necessary to start by implementing sustainable urban mobility measures. The first important measure is the establishment of a congestion charge zone, aimed at changing the modal distribution in favour of sustainable forms of transport.
For Dubrovnik, a key challenge is balancing out transport supply and demand through the implementation of measures to manage transport demand. Key management measures to achieve an efficient transport system are Push and Pull methods. Push methods are directed at removing personal vehicles from a certain area, while Pull measures are aimed at attracting the user towards more sustainable forms of transport.
One of the push methods for managing transport demand is congestion charging. The concept of the congestion charge zone has been implemented in many European and world cities facing excessive transport demand in their city centre. The best known examples are London, Stockholm, Milan and Valletta. All these cities have achieved numerous positive changes in mobility through these charges for vehicle traffic. They have recorded reductions in traffic load, positive changes to modal distribution in favour of sustainable forms of transport, and an improved quality of life for its residents. In certain cities, the congestion charge has become an important financial tool for investing into sustainable forms of transport.
Benefits of the implemented system
The system consists of traffic analysis cameras that can process analytical information in the camera itself (recognition of the vehicle category and licence plate number). This enables effective processing of the passage of every vehicle through the congestion zone. Every micro-location has a processor unit with the accompanying process software developed by KING ICT specifically for this purpose. The processor unit processes all the traffic analysis information locally, and ensures the secure transfer of data towards the city’s existing central integration system (BUS+).
Measures for managing transport demand are defined at the level of the European Union, through a number of directives aimed at regulating CO2 emissions and urban transport. They also stipulate the need to define sustainable transport via transport strategies at the European, national, regional and local levels.
The purpose of establishing congestion charge zones in this specific contact zone is aimed at increasing the protection of the historical Old Town core of the City of Dubrovnik — a protected monument of the highest category that is also under UNESCO protection — against the negative impacts of motorised transport. In addition to the positive effects on protecting the city core, this measure will also have positive ecological effects from the reduced emissions and noise in the core area.