Managing a country’s entire highway network is no easy feat. Like so many things, it requires fresh thinking to stay ahead of the curve. That’s why Netivei Israel, the country’s National Roads Authority, has launched a new Innovation and Strategy Division.
The new initiative will see the state-owned corporation invest ₪10 million (approximately $2.8 million) each year to develop new technological solutions for infrastructure development and management.
Netivei Israel overseas 98 percent of Israel’s intercity transport infrastructure, encompassing approximately 8,600 kilometers (5,300 miles) of roadway, along with some 1,300 bridges and other such transportation landmarks.
The company announced the initiative today ahead of the 8th annual EcoMotion conference, which moved to an online platform this year due to the restrictions of the Coronavirus. EcoMotion is a joint venture of the Israeli Innovation Institute, the Smart Transportation Administration, and the Ministry of Economy.
“Studies and research around the world prove that using advanced technologies for handling, monitoring, developing and maintaining infrastructure can lead to a significant change in how the general public experience and use transport,” said the new division’s director Hilla Haddad Hamelnik, who previously served as Deputy Director of Projects at the Ministry of Transportation. “By reducing up to 20% of daily traffic congestion on roads, reducing road accidents, through a significant cut in maintenance costs and improving existing infrastructure, our goal is to ensure the country known around the world as the start-up nation put this into practice at home.”
Even before the initiative was officially announced, it had already launched its first startup challenge, with five winners selected to receive ₪1 million to carry out demonstrations in the field. InprisWay and AutoLab will develop complementary solutions for highway truck traffic. Manam Applications and Dynamic Infrastructure were selected to work on preventative maintenance on bridges. And entrepreneurs Bezalel Halimmi and Amir Laloush will leverage artificial intelligence to predict and manage legal claims from roadway users.
“Establishing an innovation and strategy division is part of the Company’s strategic vision, as part of our core activities as the National Transportation Infrastructure Company, in order to assure the public that we provide the best value for money – in safety, congestion reduction and advanced infrastructure,” added Netivei Israel CEO Nissim Peretz.