MARCO–T3: Integrated TMCS (Traffic Management and Control System) for Motorways in Mestre-Venice area

EUGENIO MORELLO / 10 May 2017 09:26

ITS Domain(s):
Traveller information
  • International
  • National
  • Regional
  • Urban


MARCO-T3 is a complex Freeway Traffic Control System for managing traffic on all the motorway system under the responsibility of CAV.
All ITS technologies available are used: AID, Speed advise, Ramp metering, dynamic allocation of traffic lanes (on Mestre-Venice ring road).
MARCO.T3 is the Integration of several subsystems:
• RT (Traffic monitoring)
• CCTV (video surveillance)
• AID (Automatic Incident Detection)
• RM (Ramp metering)
• VMS (Variable Message Sign)
o LCS (Lane Control Sign)
o TXT (textual information + pictogram and rerouting)
• MIM (Multiagency Incident Management)
All coordinated by the SV (Supervisor)

Objectives of the project

Increase safety for user of motorway and improve efficiency of traffic for both travelers and operators are the aim at the basis of any decision taken by CAV about the implementation of ITS

The history begins in 1992 with the implementation of “EASY-DRIVE” system, which objective was to keep smooth and safe the traffic approaching Toll barrier.

In 1999, due to the traffic always increasing, especially in direction of the East European Countries, the congestions became more and more frequent along the Mestre Beltway. With the objective of reducing number and duration of congestion situation, the system MARCO (Motorway Access Regulation and Control) was implemented.

Despite MARCO system, the traffic volume and congestion were still increasing and in 2001 the Local Administration and Motorway operator decided that for reducing congestion the only possibility was to open the shoulder lane as third lane for traffic, when this were possible and efficient. 

The MARCO-T3 system was so implemented using all "ITS" technology available at that time.

In 2007 Central Administration (Transport Ministry) decided to build a new motorway offering alternative path for traffic crossing Venice-Mestre area. The “Passante” bypass was opened in 2009. Now the aim was again to keep traffic smooth and safe using all ITS technology already in places equipping also the new “passante” with traffic sensors CCTV cameras and Variable Message Signs. Adaptation for the Dynamic Lane allocation strategy on Mestre beltway was also needed.

Congestion management and safety improving
Challenges addressed
  • Traffic congestion
  • Safety/road accidents

Results/Lessons Learnt

MARCO-T3 is a complex Motorway Traffic Control System for managing traffic on all the motorway system under the responsibility of CAV (Concessioni Autostradali Venete). All ITS technologies available have been used: CCTV, VMS; traffic sensors, AID, Speed advise, Ramp metering, dynamic allocation of traffic lanes (on Mestre-Venice beltway).

MARCO-T3 is the Integration of several subsystems, all coordinated by the SV (Supervisor); the subsystems are:

  • RT (Traffic monitoring)
  • CCTV (video surveillance)
  • AID (Automatic Incident Detection)
  • RM (Ramp metering)
  • VMS (Variable Message Sign)
    • o LCS (Lane Control Sign)
    • o TXT (textual and pictogram information and rerouting)
  • MIM (Multiagency Incident Management)

Main functionalities of Supervisor (SV) are:

  • Traffic observation
  • Traffic models (reconstruction and forecast)
  • control strategy manager
    • o dynamic lane allocation
    • o speed advise
    • o event management
  • RM action
  • VMS message generation and didtribution
  • GUI (georeferenced Graphical User Interface)

Many years of operation have demonstrated the effectiveness of the system for improving both traffic condition and safety

System Architecture is shown in the following picture:




System components:

  • Peripherals:
  • n° 119 Variable Message Signs on gantries and flag (with serial connection over TCP / IP protocol)
  • n ° 129 PTZ cameras positioned on turrets. 32 are in the tunnel (TCP / IP connection)
  • n ° 34 cameras Cam on the turret; images are published on the Company's website (TCP / IP)
  • n ° 47 stations with traffic detection units (almost all with serial connection). For each control unit there are 3 connected sensors. Total of 138 double and triple technology traffic sensors.
  • n ° 8 stations with traffic detection unit on ramps (Ramp Metering) of the Mestre beltway access (on serial connection). For each control unit there are connected 2 loop sensors. There are also 8 traffic light for access to the ramps functioning in normal condition in flashing mode.
  • n ° 29 stations with AID (Automatic Detection of Incidents) (all on serial protocol). For each control unit there are linked on average 4 cameras.
  • n ° 5 position with WEATHER control unit (TCP / IP)
  • n ° 75 SOS. Connection via GSM cards Telecom.
  • n ° 85 electric power panels.
  • n ° 10 gensets along the Mestre ring road (link on the WIFI network)
  • n ° 13 UPS: 11 along the Mestre ring road (link on the WIFI network), 2 present at the Operations Center.
  • n ° 14 of conditioning machines along the Mestre beltway (there is no connection to the center).
  • n ° 96 of data transmission antennas WIFI along the Mestre beltway: 68 backbone node Hyperlan (5.4Ghz technology) and 28 mesh nodes (2.4Ghz technology).
  • n °1 mobile Variable Message Sign. Connection using GPRS.
  • Central system (supervisor)
  • Control Strategy Manager
  • dynamic lane allocation
    • - advice for lane configuration transition
    • - speed limit for “smoothing” traffic
    • - speed and lane limit for “cells protection”
  • event management
    • - automatic generation of LOS events for the whole network
    • - integration of AID generated events
    • - integration of Operator generated events
    • - integration of MIM generated events
  • RM actions
  • VMS message generator
  • MIM Multiagency Incident Management.
  • Real time connection with 10 bodies involved in Emergency management: Polstrada VE, Polstrada PD, Vigili Urbani VE and PD, Fire Fighters in Mestre, SUEM in  Mestre, Technical office in Town Hall of Padova and Venezia, TCC of BS-PD Motorway, TCC of Autovie Venete Motorway
  • Connection with Fleet Management Systems

“Action plan” management system

Success story description

A before/after study was conducted to measure the effect for speed advice, ramp metering and dynamic lane allocation. Main results are reported below:

  • In 1997 a study on incidents occurred on the stretch equipped with EASY-RIDER system (Speed Advice) in two periods of 5 years before and after the start of the system, revealed a reduction of 6.5% of the number of incidents.
  • In 2001 a study before/after (7 days with system OFF and 14 with system ON) on effect of Ramp Metering System revealed an increase in average speed for travelers on Mestre beltway which range from 8% for the overall 24 h period, to 12% considering only the 11 hours of the day 7:00-20:00), to 13% for peak hours (7:00-10:00 and 17:00-20:00). Results obtained without variation in Veic.Km that means with constant traffic demand.
  • In 2009 the “Politecnico di Milano” in the framework of the European research project EASY-WAY conducted a deep before/after evaluation of “Speed control function” as part of the Dynamic Lane allocation system (12 days with system OFF and 7 with system ON). Results are summarized in the following table:




reduce congestion


increase  of 5,7%



decrease of 9,4%


hour of congestion

decrease of 21,4%

imprve safety

speed standard  deviation

decrease of 7,3%



decrease of 9,4%

reduce pollution

speed standard  deviation

decrease of 7,3%

Technology readiness level
  • TRL 9 - Actual system proven in operational environment (competitive manufacturing in the case of key enabling technologies; or in space)
Tags / keywords:
Safety Traffic data traffic management
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