In the future, Stockholm Old Town and pedestrian Drottninggatan Street, which witnessed a horrific truck attack in April 2017, may be fenced off using a geoblocking technique that limits the speed of vehicles in certain areas, national broadcaster SVT reported.
Geoblocking or geofencing works with the help of GPS and prevents vehicles from entering certain areas. Earlier this week, Sweden's Transport Administration has demonstrated the technology together with the nation's largest truck manufacturers: Scania and Volvo.
Geoblocking allows authorities to prevent a vehicle from being hijacked and physically limits its speed. In the demonstration arranged in Stockholm, a bus was going at a mere 20 kilometers per hour, regardless of how much the driver stepped on the gas.
"There is a huge international demand and it depends on all the terrorist acts that have taken place. One wants to safeguard the environment more quickly, without building barriers and walls that close the city," Maria Kraft, traffic safety director at the Swedish Transport Administration, said.
Trafikverket demonstrerade på tisdagen geofencing – tekniken som ska förhindra att lastbilar och bussar används som terrorvapen. https://t.co/qFE2UvGtvb— SVT Stockholm (@svtstockholm) May 29, 2018
Furthermore, geoblocking is being touted as a recipe for better road safety in everyday life.
"With the help of geofencing, you can control the noise, reduce traffic and obtain even speeds. It also provides an opportunity for children to go to school and back on their own, as you know that the speed of the cars moving in the area is secured. There are many social aspects to that," Kraft said.
In Sweden's second-largest city of Gothenburg, geoblocking has been tested on a bus line for three years. By contrast, the capital city has introduced geofencing tests on a much smaller scale, with only electric trucks being allowed to deliver goods at night in certain areas.
"In a truck with geofencing, the vehicle itself finds out what it should do. For example, it automatically switches to electrical operation in certain areas at night. This means that you can have significantly nicer and more innovative traffic solutions than you might have otherwise," Stockholm city traffic director Jonas Eliasson explained.
Implementing geoblocking in a city, let alone on a nationwide scale, still requires a lot of testing and legislative changes to introduce universal regulations. While the full introduction of geoblocking is estimated to take about a decade, the Swedish Traffic Agency hopes that this technology will reach an international scope in the future.