SPIE Belgium modernises communication systems in Flemish tunnels by integrating DAB+ digital radio

Anderlecht, 9 April 2024 SPIE Belgium, a subsidiary of the SPIE group, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications, is extending its partnership with JACOPS NV to modernise and optimise DAB+ radio communications in all tunnels in Flanders. In the long term, this initiative will make it possible to increase the efficiency of radio communications in all Flemish tunnels, which is a significant step forward in terms of safety.

Significant improvement to communication in tunnels

The roll-out of DAB+ in tunnels brings a number of key benefits, in particular for emergency communications. Thanks to the use of this technology in Flemish tunnels, the authorities are able to immediately and optimally target areas in which vehicles are being affected by traffic issues. This means that they can inform road users in the event of an accident or roadworks. Information is now broadcast in tunnels via specific radio messages with excellent sound quality, as well as via visual warnings on vehicle displays.

The work, which was commissioned by the Belgian Roads and Traffic Agency (AWV), is an extension of a previous similar project and will ensure continuous improvements to safety and information throughout Flanders. The police, fire service and other emergency services can now communicate more effectively thanks to operator ASTRID, thereby guaranteeing smooth operations on the ground. The DAB+ technology allows for digital radio transmissions and is increasing in popularity in Europe. It also offers the advantage of remaining compatible with FM radio and is therefore able to reach most vehicles on the road.

As Norman Kabir, Business Development Manager at SPIE Belgium explains: "This project is an important step in the modernisation of the road infrastructure in Flanders. In addition to optimising the sound and radio frequency range, DAB+ will bring tangible improvements in road safety thanks to targeted emergency notifications in tunnels. This contract is one of a series of projects carried out by SPIE on behalf of the Belgian Roads and Traffic Agency".

Installation and maintenance of installations

The project covers the current work to install DAB+ radio as well as the maintenance and upgrading of these radio systems. The SPIE team will be backed up by technical experts in the field of road radio systems.

Thomas Meskens, Department Manager at SPIE Belgium, explains: "Given the technical complexity of these systems, we decided to strengthen our team by providing specific training. This allows us to work in a more targeted manner to guarantee our customers optimal performance."

"We are currently finalising the engineering study for a new installation in the Leonard tunnel, which will be carried out at the same time as other planned upgrades in this tunnel. In addition, four other tunnel radio renewals are planned," says Michael Spronck, Project Manager within the Roads & Waterways North department, SPIE Belgium.

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