Improving Risk management
System tracks Europe’s dangerous goods
A new tracking system inspired by that used for air traffic control will help monitor the progress and condition of dangerous goods transported across Europe’s roads.
The system will automatically warn emergency services of potentially dangerous situations, helping them to respond rapidly if an accident or other problem does occur. The more effective emergency teams are in responding to a crisis, the more chance they have of saving lives and preventing damage to property.
European researchers in the Mitra project created the system to provide emergency services with information about the real-time location of radioactive materials, toxic chemicals and hazardous waste being transported in Europe.
Dangerous goods travel across Europe’s roads every day. Currently, only a label identifies the contents of a tanker. Emergency services do not know what they will face when they reach the scene. It may be impossible to approach the tanker, or the label warning of dangerous contents may have been destroyed.
But the Mitra system can ensure that emergency services can respond quickly and efficiently to a crisis if it does occur.
How it works
The Mitra system tracks trucks and trains through an on-board terminal (OBT), made up of telecommunication systems like GSM, SMS and global positioning satellite (GPS) navigation services.
The OBT can relay the location, speed, direction and contents of the vehicle to a central information exchange server.
The server routes the information to a variety of databases, for example those holding road, event and risk assessment information. The road databases contain detailed information about the road system, such as when and where roadworks are underway or the proximity of schools and hospitals. Such databases also provide details about critical infrastructure and other sensitive areas.
An events database might list public holidays, festivals and sporting events. The information is vital to assess the potential impact of a crisis along the vehicle’s route.
The risk assessment database contains information about how lethal the dangerous goods are, the required security perimeter and propagation models if a spill does occur. A propagation model simply describes how fast and in what manner hazardous materials are likely to spread.
All this information is presented on the user terminal. The terminal details the position of the vehicle on a map, its cargo and the risk the cargo presents.
The terminal also provides alerts when vehicles pass through densely populated areas or if there is a collision. If there is an accident, the system provides vital information for emergency response.
The end-users, emergency services, played an active part in the development of the system.
The French, German and Spanish partners in the project combined expertise in dangerous goods transport, risk prevention and crisis management, satellite positioning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to develop the system.
The team delivered a prototype system, including three user monitoring terminals, which were tested at major emergency service centres in France, Germany and Spain.
The tests included field trials and validation. The system was used in real-scale emergency scenarios.
The Mitra system will provide emergency services with real-time information about the position and contents of dangerous vehicles circulating in their area.
It will provide alerts in dangerous situations, and allow emergency services to respond faster and more effectively, potentially saving many lives.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project
83623 Dietramszell - Linden
47151 Boecillo (Valladolid)
91750 Nainville Les Roches