After the new Road Traffic Act entered into force in 2020, municipalities have been obliged to submit information about traffic control devices to the Digiroad system. This may still raise questions in the municipalities, so we put together a short information package on the subject.
Although the new Road Traffic Act (729/2018) entered into force already in the summer of 2020, the new obligations brought by the reform are not necessarily still completely clear to all road managers.
One of the most significant changes that came into force is that with the updated Road Traffic Act, municipalities and other road managers have to submit information about the installation of traffic control devices, such as traffic signs, roadway paintings and traffic lights, to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s Digiroad system.
Digiroad is a national open data information system, which contains the centre line geometry and key characteristics of the entire Finnish road and street network.
”What is new in the Road Traffic Act is that, in principle, the traffic control device installer is obliged to submit the traffic control device data to Digiroad. Previously, the municipality could submit information about streets to the information system of the road and street network in accordance with the agreement it made with the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency”, says the development manager Johanna Vilkuna from the Association of Finnish Municipalities.
The development of the system and interfaces has required work on the part of the municipalities as well as Digiroad.
According to Vilkuna, there has been no transition period for the new obligations, but the obligation entered into force immediately with the law reform. However, the reform did not bring sanctions, even if the information could not be delivered as soon as possible.
“The development of the system and interfaces has required work on the part of the municipalities as well as Digiroad,” states Vilkuna.
The goal is to get comprehensive material for the development of transport services
The goal of the revised law is to produce a comprehensive and up-to-date material on traffic control devices, which enables genuinely informed management and the development of traffic services.
According to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, the Digiroad system has several advantages: for example, it is supposed to facilitate the management of infrastructure assets, improve navigation and driver assistance systems, help the operation of the Emergency Center and facilitate public transport route planning.
The notification obligation of municipalities and other road managers applies to traffic control devices that are in the terrain for at least three weeks or longer. Municipalities must also notify when the device is removed. Placing a traffic control device refers to the entire installation process, i.e. when an administrative decision is made about the device and when the device is erected or installed in the terrain.
Presumably, many municipalities exceed the minimum requirement of this law and develop comprehensive management of their traffic control device data.
According to Johanna Vilkuna, the development manager of the Association of Finnish Municipalities, the revised law does not set a deadline for reporting traffic control devices.
“The purpose, of course, is that the information in Digiroad is as up-to-date as possible,” Vilkuna clarifies.
The requirement of the revised law officially applies only to decisions regarding traffic control devices made after the law came into force.
“Presumably, many municipalities exceed the minimum requirement of this law and develop comprehensive management of their traffic control device data,” Vilkuna states.
The so-called mandatory information required by the Road Traffic Act can vary, but in practice the mandatory information is type, location, direction and possible value. If it is possible to define the first validity date for the device, the information can also be delivered to the Digiroad system in advance using the date.
Fluent offers municipalities a solution for collecting data
Even though the regulations have been lightened overall in the revised Road Traffic Act, the new obligations may at first appear to municipalities and other road managers as a jumble of rules that may require clarification. The Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency has made its own guidelines on how Digiroad receives the traffic control device data required by the Road Traffic Act. However, the instructions do not outline how municipalities and other road managers should produce the necessary information, so the style for producing the material is free, so to speak.
Instead, certain frames have been set for the delivery of the material: the material can be delivered either with the Digiroad maintenance application, which is a browser-based map application, by mass delivery, i.e. as a table-based CSV file, using the municipal interface directly from the municipality’s own street register system, or by outsourcing the mapping or maintenance of the material to a consultant or contractor.
Fluent offers different solutions for producing the required material:
- Municipality employees can collect traffic control device data using the Fluent Kunto application
- the municipality can crowdsource data collection with the joint service of Fluent and Crowdsorsa.
For example, the city of Nurmes successfully collected traffic control device data using crowdsourcing in 2023. Fluent cooperates with Digiroad’s system supplier, so whether the material is produced with the Kunto application or using crowdsourcing, the necessary information can be delivered to Digiroad quickly and effortlessly.
The article uses the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s document Digiroad – Delivery of traffic control device data to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency’s information system (June 4, 2020) as a source.
Ask for more information about the solutions offered by Fluent:
CCO Mikko Hassinen
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