1. Ferrovial
  2. Innovation

Innovation in Highways

As leaders in the development of transportation infrastructure, innovation is part of our fundamental purpose.

We remain in the vanguard in the operation of highways and the implementation of the latest toll technology, as well as the development and application of novel financing structures. 

In the last four years, we have invested over 28 million euros in research, development and innovation (R+D+i). We have innovated in every phase of the projects that we have taken on, from developing dynamic pricing technologies to mobile apps to improve the user experience to new infrastructure financing methods. 

Managed lanes and new toll technology 

Seeking efficiency and improvement in the quality of service, we have developed various pricing and toll technologies and solutions that benefit both the user and the operation of the infrastructure. 

Our innovative managed lanes projects seek to reduce traffic congestion on urban corridors and improve the service for the user. This solution consists of adding optional dynamic toll lanes to congested urban highways. While existing lanes are rehabilitated, while remaining free and experiencing greater efficiency, the new lanes are priced using innovative toll technologies. 

The dynamic pricing solution, which we have deployed in our United States managed lanes projects, allows us to calculate the toll rate in real time based on a multitude of variables, such as traffic conditions, weather, holidays and accidents. 

Our Toll Flow tool has been developed especially to detect and manage queues. Our system allows the detection of the traffic conditions likely to create congestion in the toll area and the anticipation of the formation of traffic jams. That is to say, it facilitates taking preventive measures to improve the quality of the service for the customer. 

Lastly, we have developed the Fingerprinting tool, which improves the precision of the user license plate reading process thanks to the application of an image identification algorithm. The system is able to analyze the image of the back of the vehicle and recognize its characteristic elements in order to locate it in other images taken at other points along the infrastructure. 

Apps to improve the user experience 

At Cintra we have also innovated in payment systems, developing mobile apps that allow the user to save travel time and help alleviate congestion on highways. 

Thus, the app Satelise allows payment of tolls from a smartphone without the need for any device in the vehicle or in the infrastructure. It works through intelligent telephone satellite positioning. Furthermore, in the managed lanes in Texas, United States, we have the mobile app Drive on Texpress. This app allows vehicles with more than two occupants to get a 50% discount during rush hour, thus encouraging the shared use of vehicles. 

On the other hand, the web platform Paytolls facilitates toll payment on the highways that we operate in Portugal for vehicles without Portuguese license plates. Paytolls allows for easy checking and payment of tolls owed on the Norte Litoral (A28) and Via do Infante (A22) highways. The users only have to enter the date ranges and the foreign vehicle license plate number. 

Pioneers in the application of big data 

Advanced analysis of the data from our highways allows us to better understand user behavior and offer them better services, predict traffic behavior and improve the reliability and accuracy of our estimates and move forward in order to identify areas of improvement. 

At the present time, we have over 20 professionals dedicated exclusively to the analysis and estimation of traffic and revenue, the setting of rates and pricing analysis and the development of big data. The team is spread across our main offices and our most sophisticated projects, such as managed lanes. 

Our highway portfolio is one of the best big data laboratories imaginable, since they generate a large quantity of data on our users’ behavior. After being analyzed, these data allow us to improve the revenue from our projects and extract high-value knowledge to apply to future concessions. 

Innovation in financing 

Since the birth of our company, we have been pioneers in the application of novel financial structures to the infrastructure world. Thus, we have built a trustworthy reputation when it comes to securing the necessary financing for any project, regardless of its size or complexity. Our capacity for financial innovation has been recognized on a multitude of occasions. On eight different occasions we have received the Project Finance award, the most prestigious prize in the sector, from Euromoney magazine. 

The use of guarantees from monoline insurance companies to secure financing in local currency, the ability to collect private investment in large infrastructure projects, public-private partnerships (PPP) and success in obtaining financing even during times of crisis are some of our most well-known achievements. 

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