Driving safely through tunnels thanks to AFM


30 August 2016

The Maastunnel in Rotterdam, Netherlands, will be undergoing major renovation works during the coming years. One of the new features to be installed is a safety system that keeps the traffic moving in emergencies. Technolution is developing this Adaptive Congestion Management (‘Adaptief File Management’, AFM) system. 

Always keep moving

Because the Dutch Maastunnel is a national monument, it is equipped with longitudinal ventilation. This propels the air in the direction of travel at a speed of 15 km/hour. The AFM system will ensure that traffic in the Maastunnel will always be able to drive at a speed of 15 km/hour. This guarantees that traffic in the tunnel cannot be ‘overtaken’ by smoke or fumes in the event of an emergency. But AFM does much more. The system constantly works to maintain the flow of traffic, road safety, and air quality around the tunnel. It also supports the tunnel operator in special circumstances, when he has to intervene manually. These circumstances may include emergencies, height clearance warnings, accidents, or the passage of emergency services.

AFM regulates traffic from A15 to A20

To ensure that flow is always maintained in the tunnel, AFM will create sufficient space in the traffic network around the tunnel. AFM will control traffic lights long before and after the tunnel and will spread traffic across a large part of the urban network from the A20 motorway in the north to the A15 in the south. It also takes the traffic in the city and liveability concerns into consideration.

Autonomous system

AFM is entirely autonomous in controlling traffic. A separate tunnel management system (TMS) specifically deals with safety in the tunnel. AFM alerts the TMS when traffic can no longer maintain sufficient speed. The TMS and the tunnel manager must then decide if and how to intervene.

Unique system

The AFM system is unique. No similar system for safety and traffic management in tunnels has ever been implemented anywhere. The method that the AFM uses to control traffic has already been tried and tested in the PraktijkProef Amsterdam (PPA), which improved flow on the Amsterdam Ring near the Coentunnel.

Phased introduction

Part of the system will become operational in April 2017. Road users will not notice much, however, because the monitor instruments have not yet been implemented: the radars alongside the road and loops in the tunnel. These will be installed during the physical renovation works from 2017 to 2019. When both tunnel tubes open again in August 2019, the AFM system will be fully operational.


We are building the AFM system together with the City of Rotterdam, Arane consultancy, a radar supplier to be selected, and traffic data specialist Fileradar.



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