Kapsch TrafficCom, a leading international provider of technology, services, and solutions for Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), in collaboration with Construcciones Amenábar, is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of the technological upgrade of the Zarautz toll system in Gipuzkoa.

  • Includes renewal of 19 lanes, three of which are reversible
  • Technology installed by Kapsch increases traffic flow

An image of several toll lanes

The project was executed in four phases, with a total of 19 lanes being renovated, including three reversible lanes. The advanced technology implemented by Kapsch TrafficCom enables enhanced traffic capacity and supports various means of payment.

The Zarautz toll area, situated on the AP-8 highway in the Basque Country and managed by the regional company Bidegi, underwent a comprehensive renovation to transform the toll system. With a budget of EUR 6.1 million, the project aimed to equip all lanes with an electronic toll system (TAG) and automatic machines capable of accepting multiple payment methods, including electronic, card, and cash transactions. By incorporating state-of-the-art technology provided by Kapsch TrafficCom, the toll capacity has significantly increased, allowing an estimated handling capacity of 1,000 vehicles per hour on each of the T lanes, a substantial improvement compared to the previous system’s capacity of approximately 350 vehicles per hour.

Javier Aguirre, CEO of Kapsch TrafficCom for Spain and Portugal, stated:

We are proud to have successfully completed this project, meeting the demanding deadline and completely renewing the equipment of the 19 lanes with cutting-edge technology.

The new system will streamline vehicle flow management, offering online payment options and various payment modes, ultimately resulting in smoother traffic. The Zarautz toll area is now equipped with the most advanced technology, making it one of the busiest tolls managed by Bidegi after Irún-Barrera.

Similar to the Irún-Barrera toll, another successful renovation project involving Kapsch TrafficCom, the lanes at Zarautz are designed to operate dynamically (with TAG device reading), manually (with toll collectors), and automatically. Payment options include mobile phone, bank card compliant with the EMV/EMV Contactless standard, or cash. The user interfaces of the toll machines are designed to be user-friendly and efficient, positively impacting transit time and traffic flow in the toll area.

Apart from benefiting highway users by speeding up their journeys, this renovation enables Bidegi to standardize the technical solution of its tolls and simplify operation and maintenance costs.

Project Deadlines and Phases:

The works for the Zarautz toll upgrade commenced in September 2021 and were completed within the challenging 18-month execution period. To accommodate peak traffic periods such as Christmas, Easter, and summer, the project was divided into four phases. Work during these periods was temporarily suspended to facilitate smoother movement for infrastructure users. The completion of each phase coincided with the commencement of the aforementioned holiday periods.

The first phase involved the technological upgrade of five lanes in the Donostia direction, which were equipped with dynamic (TAG) and manual operating modes. This phase presented the most significant challenge, as it required the closure of lanes to traffic, resulting in reduced traffic absorption capacity. Subsequent phases compensated for this inconvenience with the enhanced traffic absorption capacity of the newly renovated lanes already in service.

During the second phase, an additional five lanes adjacent to the previously renovated lanes in the Donostia direction were upgraded and became operational before Easter 2022. This phase showcased noticeable improvements in traffic flow towards Donostia, courtesy of the newly available technology.

In July 2022, the third phase focused on the renovation of one more lane in the Donostia direction, alongside three reversible lanes, as well as an entry lane in the Bilbao direction. This phase marked the completion of the renewal process for all the Donostia direction lanes.

The fourth and final phase, carried out from September to December 2022, involved the renovation of the four remaining entrance lanes in the Bilbao direction. Additionally, two provisional entry lanes were implemented to ensure smooth traffic flow in the Bilbao direction. These provisional lanes were dismantled upon the completion of the renovation for this phase.

In summary, Kapsch TrafficCom has successfully renewed a total of 19 lanes, including five entry lanes in the Bilbao direction, eleven exit lanes in the Donostia direction, and three reversible lanes that can operate in either direction based on traffic conditions.

The upgraded toll machines accept credit/debit cards compliant with the EMV/EMV Contactless standard, electronic payments through the vehicle’s on-board device (OBU), and cash. The user-friendly interfaces of the toll machines facilitate easy and quick payment for drivers. Furthermore, card payments are processed through secure online transactions. The project scope also includes the establishment of Bidegi’s dedicated payment gateway, to which future online payment devices in other toll plaza renovations must be connected.

In addition to the implementation of new electronic devices for reading and payment, the exterior elements of the toll area, such as containment systems for the protection of toll personnel, traffic islands, canopies, and drainage systems, have also been renovated.

Javier Aguirre concludes:

Kapsch is grateful to Bidegi for the trust placed in our company to undertake this renovation and is proud to have contributed with its technology to minimize congestion at the Zarautz toll, speed up the operation and give great flexibility to the toll operators and managers when configuring the lanes in the optimum way according to the traffic circumstances at any given time.

This article was originally published by Kapsch TrafficCom.


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