Federal Highway Research Institute

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Climate Protection, Sustainability, Traffic statistics

Common Data Environment in German road construction (federal CDE) (03.0621)
A common data environment (CDE according to DIN 19650-1) is necessary for the establishment of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) method. For this purpose, a digital project space for use throughout the entire life cycle with applications for merging, managing and exchanging information is indispensable. In this context, information is all files created in a BIM environment, such as models and documents, but also metadata such as revision results or statuses. The aim of this research project is to conceptually create a uniform federal regulation for the design and application of CDE (Common Data Environment) in road construction, so that standardised data access and continuous, loss-free data exchange is guaranteed for all participants. A solution must be able to be integrated in technical, organisational and administrative terms into the different systems of the federal states, the Federal Highway Authority and Autobahn GmbH.

Potential of secondary transport areas to promote biodiversity and their role in the spread of alien species - Berlin study area (02.0449)
The structural and landscape elements along railway and road routes as well as waterways are habitats for animals and plants whose ecological value tends to increase. As a network, they are elements of a "green infrastructure". However, transport carriers and transport routes also play a decisive role in the introduction, spread and establishment of alien species. The significance of secondary transport areas as biotopes, their possible role as networking elements in a biotope network and their significance as dispersal paths for alien species are to be investigated as examples in the "Greater Berlin" study area, which covers approximately 23,000 hectares. For this purpose, biotope type mapping, vegetation surveys and faunistic surveys of selected animal groups will be carried out. As a result, the type and spatial continuity of the biotope types as well as their influence by (invasive) alien plants and the potential of the secondary transport areas for the improvement of ecological connectivity and for the preservation of biological diversity will be determined and presented.

Evaluation of the effectiveness of existing overflight aids for bats on roads (02.0440)
Although bat protection has been regularly considered in road construction measures for many years, implementation in the federal states is still very heterogeneous. The traffic and the construction of roads have direct (collision death) or indirect (fragmentation, impairment of habitats) effects on the animals. One way to protect bats from traffic is to use hop-over aids. Hop-over are narrow, tall structures along the roadside that are designed to keep the altitude of the bats crossing the road above the vehicles. The functional effectiveness of existing overflight aids has not been fully scientifically clarified. The aim of the project is to examine and evaluate the installed overflight aids on roads with regard to their effectiveness. In addition to the current status quo, the result of this project should be recommendations as to whether and in what context overflight aids should be used in the future.

Study on the effectiveness of game warning systems (03.0576)
Among experts the use of wildlife warning systems (WWA) is an accepted instrument for the prevention of serious wildlife accidents. Several systems exist in Germany. Within the framework of an economic review, the effectiveness of game warning systems was questioned. In this context, individual functional checks showed that WWAs can be impaired by different factors: On the one hand, technical limitations or detection errors due to system weaknesses (loss of reliability in detecting wildlife), on the other hand, secondary factors - for example, vegetation covering sensors. In this project, the functionality and effectiveness of existing wildlife warning systems in Germany will be investigated in detail. Since wildlife accident figures on the section of road before and after the installation of the system are often used to assess the effectiveness of wildlife warning systems, a consistent system for recording wildlife accidents is to be developed that can be applied generally. In addition, the basis for a differentiated economic assessment of the use of WWAs is to be created.

Settlement potential and ruderalisation effects of road-influenced areas (02.0390)
The vegetation on roadside and intervention areas is disturbed or completely removed during construction measures and partly during road operation. Usually, an attempt is made to restore the previous state approximately. The species brought in often do not correspond to the current site conditions or show insufficient growth success. Alien and invasive plant species quickly colonise open soil areas. Their usually mass occurrence not only displaces native plant species from neighbouring sites, but can also act as a biological barrier and thus adversely affect the distribution and genetic exchange of naturally occurring species. The project aims to investigate whether roadside areas can be improved in terms of nature conservation and balanced more favourably in the procedure of impact mitigation.

Development of invasive plants on secondary traffic areas - a follow-up study on former BMVI long-term test areas (02.0428)
Non-native plant species often occur on roadside areas and then spread along them. Appropriate maintenance measures can be used to prevent and manage such species, but maintenance plans for this species are not yet uniformly available. International agreements and the various national laws and guidelines impose requirements and obligations that must be taken into account in the planning, construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure. In order to ensure compliance with these objectives, the development of suitable maintenance measures for roadside areas is of great importance. In 1984, the BMVI established a total of 18 long-term test areas on federal trunk roads in order to investigate the influence of maintenance measures for succession control on roadside areas. In this project, an evaluation of these roadside areas is planned, in which the occurrence of alien plant species in particular is to be assessed. In addition, the potential of maintenance measures to promote biodiversity and to avoid alien plant species will be assessed. The results should serve as a basis for the optimisation of measures to control or eliminate alien plant species and to promote biodiversity on roadside areas.

The potential of secondary transport areas to promote biodiversity and their role in the spread of alien species (02.0409)
Side traffic areas on roads, railways or waterways can provide habitats for animals and plants. Against the background of ongoing landscape change and future climate changes, the ecological value of such areas is increasing. The potential of secondary transport areas has not yet been sufficiently analysed for the conservation and development of biodiversity and has therefore not been sufficiently exploited. This project is intended to provide the basis for the optimisation of measures to promote biodiversity, an improvement in the ecological networking of transport routes across modes of transport and the targeted and cost-effective control of neobiota. The aim is to obtain an inventory of predominant biotope types, vegetation and selected animal groups in the three transport modes road, rail and waterway.

Management of invasive species (6317018)
Unlike areas used for agriculture and forestry, roadside areas are not subject to productive use and have great potential for positively contributing to biological diversity and the requirements of nature conservation law. On the other hand, many invasive species occur preferably on roadside areas and frequently spread along them. This increased occurrence of primarily invasive plant species can on the one hand endanger the native biodiversity whilst on the other present a safety risk to traffic because some of these species grow fast or high or are hazardous to health. The aim of the project is to obtain an overview of the occurrence of invasive plant species on roadside areas and measures taken so far to control and eliminate them. The results are to provide the foundation for the optimisation of measures to manage invasive plant species and to promote and maintain biodiversity on roadside areas.

Reduction in the indirect negative effect of roadside animal habitats (02.0372)
The green roadside areas of federal highways provide a habitat to many animal species. However, the proximity to moving traffic means that these animals risk being killed if they stray onto the road. The research project is aimed at determining the relationship between the contribution made by these roadside areas to the reproductive rates of a representative selection of species and the rate of their mortality caused by road traffic. It is intended to make a first quantifiable contribution to this problem. Emphasis is to be placed on animal species relevant to planning. The expected findings in the project can provide basic new arguments in the discussion on the contribution made by roadside areas under species protection law.

Material retention in rainwater retention basins (05.0154)
Requirements under water law and nature conservation law have placed tougher demands in recent years on the cleaning performance of drainage facilities on roads outside urban areas. This affects expansion and new builds, but also increasingly existing systems in need of upgrading. There are several large volume rainwater retention basins for road runoff which, depending on the dimensioning, are only fully utilised once in every one to ten years. Since the majority of pollutants in road runoff are attached to particles, studies are to investigate whether targeted sedimentation in these large basins and the ensuing improved retention of particulate matter from the road runoff over and above that achieved by the hydraulic retention function significantly improves the material pollutant burden on waters. The aim is to examine whether it is also possible to achieve improved material retention for priority substances under the Water Framework Directive that occur in the road runoff. Proposals for converting existing basins and building new basins are to be derived from this, their efficiency in terms of material retention proven and proposals for incorporating results in rules and standards developed.

Effectiveness of Wildlife Warning Reflectors (SV 0010)
In order to reduce the number of vehicle-wildlife accidents, optically reflective wildlife warning reflectors are often installed on roadside reflector posts. These are designed to direct the light from passing vehicles onto specific roadside areas in order to frighten the animals away and thus prevent vehicle-wildlife accidents. The effectiveness of wildlife warning reflectors has not, however, been scientifically proven. This project seeks to examine the extent to which optical wildlife warning reflectors can be an effective instrument in the prevention of vehicle-wildlife accidents. To this end, the technical function of the reflectors will be examined. A comprehensive review of the literature will also determine the physiological characteristics of the relevant animal species in respect to their perception of light and light reflection.

Measuring the traffic-related deposition of substances along the sides of roads (6390001)
Road traffic emissions cause pollutants to accumulate along the sides of roads. A large part of this is deposited on the hard shoulder and along the edge of the roadway; depending on the type of drainage system used, the pollutants are then washed onto the adjoining soil. Decades of pollution have caused the soil adjoining roadways to have a relatively high content of heavy metals. Organic substances such as PAH also frequently occur at higher concentrations. The spatiotemporal changes effected in the soil and drainage system and the pollutant volume transported in the seepage water are to be evaluated within the framework of this project. Steps are to be identified to effect reductions and to check the success of such steps. The positive side-effects of a reduction in such deposits are that there will be fewer problems and costs caused by pollutants in hard shoulder scrapings, sweepings, mud taken from drainage basins and air-borne particles. The results are required to compile and revise regulations for the planning, construction and operation of roads and further regulations governing the use of mineral waste in road construction.

Preparation, evaluation, extrapolation and updating of traffic volume data in the course of SVZ 2016 - 2020 (83.0038)
Every 5 years (currently 2020) - in addition to the continuous counts at automatic continuous counting points (DZ) - nationwide road traffic counts (SVZ) are carried out to determine traffic development and provide traffic volumes on the federal trunk roads. The traffic volume data are recorded on almost all sections of the federal trunk roads by DZ, automatic side radar (TM) or manual counts (MZ). The TM record the traffic over a short period of time using a rolling procedure in the period 2016 to 2020, the MZ take place exclusively in 2020. Due to their continuous recording, the data obtained from the DZ serve as a basis for extrapolation for TM and MZ. The aim of the present project is to check the plausibility and processing of the approximately 2,500 automatic continuous counting points (DCs) and, based on the processed DC data, to process and evaluate the approximately 12,000 DC counting points (TM and MC). The counting results form an essential basis for forecasts, road planning and planning of traffic influencing facilities as well as for the evaluation of traffic noise.

Analysis of existing road objects from laser point clouds using pattern recognition/object recognition, including georeferencing (02.0378)
Laser scanning measurements are used today to prepare basic plans for improving and widening roads. One advantage of this method is that disruption to the flow of traffic is minimised, which in turn prevents traffic congestion and costly partial lane closures. The laser scanning measurements produce very big point sets and thus extremely large quantities of data, requiring new analysis techniques. Software systems are currently able to import these scanned laser data and represent them entirely or in parts as a point cloud on the screen. While such point clouds can be created quickly and simply by test vehicles fitted with a laser scanner, manual evaluation of the data is still extremely laborious, particularly when this process is to be used to assess the status quo of larger road networks, for example. Methods and algorithms are to be developed in the research project to search for previously defined patterns of existing objects in the point cloud and to record recognised objects, and save them in a file (which is OKSTRA-compliant where applicable). A method capable of analysing existing objects from point clouds would significantly simplify and accelerate the requisite preliminary work involved in planning and operating a road compared to the approach used up to now.

Road traffic census on federal highways in Germany in 2015 (83.0029)
A census of road traffic will be conducted in 2015 in order to investigate traffic development and to supply data on traffic density on federal highways. The results of the census will form an important basis for the planning of roads and traffic control facilities. Furthermore, annual mileage on roads within Germany will be determined for the different categories of vehicle type and road class. The census will be conducted along federal motorways and federal roads; the German federal government is the highway authority responsible for these road classes. It is recommended that the federal states also extend the census to include state roads and country roads. Evaluations, projections and analyses for the manual, nationwide census, which is intended to take place in 2015, will consider data collected from approximately 31,000 count points.