The topic of innovation is part of EcoRodovias’ strategic planning, as the company aims to improve its efficiency both in terms of management and sustainability as well as of projects that can offer more convenience and safety for the users of our motorway system.
In this sense, our concessionaires are laboratories implementing different innovation efforts for the sector—some are even trailblazers in the country. This is the case of our electronic toll collection technologies, weigh-in-motion solutions for truck tolling, and our free-flow system to charge tolls without requiring vehicles to stop or reduce speed. The latter is being implemented along the EcoPistas system as a technical case study, so currently users are not charged using this method, yet it allows us to forecast future demands that are in the process of being regulated.
We are also investing in the development of green technologies to reduce the environmental impact of our operations. In this category, examples include the use of rubberized asphalt (with crumb rubber made from recycled tires), going net-zero carbon in the company’s operations, and energy efficiency projects.
Recently, this set of research, initiatives, and activities focused on innovation has been organized to create the Inovaeco ecosystem, a program aligned with the company´s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) values. This ecosystem includes both our internal public (closed innovation)—as we spread our innovation culture through campaigns, training sessions, and innovation squads—and partnerships with the market and universities (open innovation).
Here are some of the latest innovation efforts implemented by EcoRodovias:
A pilot program implemented by Ecovias, the SOS Navegue Grátis service allows users to call for aid when there is an accident or request information over the phone. The call is free of charge and the caller location is submitted to our control center through their device’s GPS coordinates, speeding up the service. In the event of an accident, the SOS Navegue Grátis service represents a valuable time saver to save lives.
EcoRodovias is a trailblazer in the country in accepting credit card payments as a toll payment method. It uses a contactless technology (NFC—Near-Field Communication), which means more safety for everyone, especially because it allows users to pay without having to handle cash.
Ecovias do Cerrado, in turn, has implemented the PIX payment method, a system developed in Brazil for instant direct bank transfers, using QR code scanning to complete the payment, while Eco101 now allows payment through the PicPay digital wallet app.
A self-service tollbooth collection system where users can pay using their credit or debit card. It is convenient and allows drivers to optimize their time and better plan their trip, as they will no longer need to withdraw or handle cash before and while traveling. The system also benefits tollbooth operators, as it improves the flow of traffic and makes transactions easier.
EcoRodovias has implemented high-precision scales for weighing trucks without requiring them to stop along Eco101 (HS-WIM—High Speed Weigh in Motion). This pilot aims to help improve the sector’s norms and regulations, to allow this system to be fully and definitively implemented in the country. Today in Brazil, trucks are required to reduce their speed and drive into dedicated roadside stations to have their weight inspected, which impacts their travel time and even the flow and safety along Brazilian motorways. The implementation of weigh-in-motion scales is a solution that improves weight inspection efficiency and the flow of traffic.
EcoRodovias has developed an unprecedented partnership with Volvo Cars Brasil to connect Volvo cars with the Operations Control Centers along EcoRodovias´ motorways. With the car’s trip computer, drivers and passengers can submit information such as location and driver and vehicle data in case of emergency. This system is triggered automatically when the car’s airbags are activated, speeding up emergency response.
The Connected Citizens Program by Waze encourages organizations to use real-time traffic data from motorways to reduce traffic jams and contribute to decision-making processes. Our partnership with Waze allows EcoRodovias Operations Control Center (CCO) operators to issue alerts to Waze users, reporting on traffic, accidents, slow-traffic events, and work zones. Users, in turn, can submit reports to CCO operators as well.
Automatic incident detection (AID) cameras have been implemented along the Anchieta-Imigrantes System. This technology generates automatic alerts in case of unplanned traffic events, such as the stopping of a vehicle or a pedestrian walking on the motorway, so that the motorway’s operations teams can promptly take the necessary action.
Ecovias is the country’s first concessionaire to use a robot brushcutter to safely speed up the manual labor of operators by the side of the motorway to prevent accidents.