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The town of Põlva will get Estonia’s smartest road

Põlva, a lovely town in Southern Estonia, will get what can be called the smartest road in Estonia, integrating various intelligent transportation system units to shape driving habits. The smart road will be built by Estonian smart city startup Bercman Technologies and IoT startup Krakul.

With a joint offer, Bercman Technologies and Krakul won the procurement for the Põlva smart road construction.

“The smart road to be built in Põlva is Estonia’s first average speed measurement solution in an open environment,” said Mart Suurkask, the CEO of Bercman Technologies.

The new smart road section is about 2.7 km long with an average speed measurement capacity and includes 14 smart pedestrian crosswalks on Kesk and Jaama streets in Põlva. These pedestrian crosswalk solutions are equipped with number plate recognition cameras to measure the average speed of cars and have signs with changeable information at the start and endpoints of the smart road section.

The project will be carried out from June to October, 2022. Firstly, a sketch solution is developed and coordinated. Secondly, the project’s legal requirements are prepared and coordinated with offices and companies involved. In the project’s final phase, the smart road solution will be built, tuned and configured.

Suurkask told Invest Estonia in 2021, that he hopes to see the number of traffic deaths and injuries halved within five years in Estonia. “Our mission is to eliminate all fatalities and injuries related to traffic accidents while also expediting the wider use of self-driving cars in order to ensure higher road safety,” he explained.

Founded in 2016 in the city of Tartu, Estonia, Bercman Technologies produces smart pedestrian crosswalks, employes 16 people and is publicly traded on the First North Baltic since summer 2021.

A perfect place to develop and test smart city solutions

“I believe that Põlva will be a good example for other cities in Estonia as well as other countries on how to slow the traffic and influence road users to reduce their speed,” Suurkask noted, also stressing the innovation-mindedness and care from Põlva Rural Municipality regarding traffic safety.

Põlva is located in Southern Estonia and has the large share of micro-enterprises, mainly in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fishing. At the same time, a lot of attention is paid to attracting innovation and creating new ideas.

“South Estonia is a perfect environment to develop and test smart city solutions,” Asso Uibo, Invest Estonia’s Director of Regional Business Development in South Estonia notes. “The local governments here are very open and progressive. They are ready to share practically all the data they can and that developers of smart city solutions need. And in Estonia, of course, all this data is digitally available and usable.”

According to Uibo, the compact size of the region’s municipalities is also suitable for initial testing of solutions, to be later scaled globally and / or in larger regions. He also cites the positive attitude of the population towards innovation (the concept that “if it can make my life easier / better, of course we try it”) and the high level of technological skills, which is also supported by related disciplines in universities.

A smart city is a city where people feel good and comfortable to live in

“Why the development of smart city solutions in this area is moving forward fast?” Uibo asks. “Because smart cities like ours, do not necessarily mean technology. Instead – people are in the heart of everything. A smart city is a city where people feel good and comfortable to live in. And whatever solutions help to achieve this, it is wise to use them! If technology helps us to achieve goals, it is very good, but technology is just a tool, not the end goal. The focus in a truly smart city remains on people.”

For developing and implementing smart city solutions, Estonia has an unparalleled track record of applying technology to create efficiency and improve user experience. Advanced digital infrastructure, skills and consumer adoption provide the ideal R&D testbed for smart city solutions.

Read more about the opportunities Estonia offers in the field of smart cities here. If you wish to learn more about doing business in Estonia, feel free to send us an e-Consulting request to get more detailed information on Estonia’s business environment and the opportunities offered by it.


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