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GRITS: The new electronic tolling system with one transceiver for all motorways

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End titles for the tender regarding the installation of satellite tolls were put by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport after a decision of the Minister, Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, cancelling the relevant tender.

It was the last act of the case, as essentially the tender was already neutralized by the Council of State, where after an appeal of the participants, serious deficiencies were found.

It is reminded that it was an ambitious plan to install transceivers for the traffic control of all trucks and cameras for passenger vehicles, combined with free flow lanes on the motorways and a proportional charge according to the kilometers travelled.

Market sources describe this plan as maximalistic, as such a wide implementation, as they comment, does not exist in any country of the western world.

“GRITS”: A transceiver for all motorway axes

One cycle is coming to an end, but a new cycle is opening at the same time in the case of the modernization of greek motorways’ tolls. According to information of ypodomes.com, the agreement between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the concessionaires as well as the state-owned Egnatia Odos, has been secured. This agreement was one of the first goals set by Mr. Kostas Karamanlis, as a Minister.

The new system where all axes will be entering is the so-called “GRITS” (Greek Interoperable Tolling System). Aegean Motorway, Attiki Odos, Olympia Odos, Moreas Motorway and Gefyra SA are already included in the network. As of next October, Egnatia Odos and its vertical axes, Ionia Odos, Nea Odos and Kentriki Odos-E65 will also join.

For the drivers, this means that with one transceiver they will be able to drive on all covered motorways without having to change a device. The charge remains the same (0.06 euros per kilometer) as do the discount packages on each motorway. In short, drivers will charge the transceiver of their choice with money and with it they will be able to pay everywhere across the country.

According to sources close to the subject, the existing motorways are currently upgrading their systems and from June the testing of the systems will start for a period of 3-4 months. GRITS is reportedly scheduled to operate next October, possibly even a little earlier, if trials are completed soon.

For the future, a new tender for electronic tolling system is being explored where interoperability will go to a higher level with the operation of a free-flow system.

Operation of the hybrid tolling system on Olympia Odos on its way

IBI Group’s hybrid tolling system will also be put into operation soon by Olympia Odos. But what is the “hybrid tolling system” that is being implemented? It is basically a fairer charging policy that is addressed exclusively to the owners of o-pass devices (i.e. Olympia Motorway’s electronic transceivers).

Its “smart” operation is extremely simple. O-pass users are charged at the tolls according to the price of each station but upon drivers’ exit at the interchange of their choice, a calculation will be made subtracting the kilometers that haven’t been used till the next toll station. Based on these kilometers, the difference will be deducted from the paid price and the money will be refunded to the drivers’ accounts.

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Tram extension to Piraeus to operate in late 2020

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The operation of the Tramway extension to Piraeus is moved towards the end of 2020, as the works for the relocation of the Tram line in the area of ​​Faliro Bay will have to be completed first, as well as the rest of the project.

It is also reminded that Batis-SEF section, has been out of order since March 16, 2020, based on the planning of Attica Region, in the context of Faliro Bay Restoration project.

According to information, while initially the project provided for 45 days of construction works and an additional 15 days of testing, due to Covid-19 pandemic, these procedures were delayed.

Now, should there be no more delays, the new goal is for the projects to be completed with the reattachement of the lines on both sides, allowing the restoration of commercial operation, by the beginning of September. It is noted that the projects include the demolition of “Tzitzifies” and “Kallithea” stops and their reconstruction at a new location.

The building that stands in the way for the extension’s operation

The big demand from the above projects is the start of the commercial operation of the first large extension of the Tram from Faliro to Piraeus. The project has been completed and last February STASY S.A. was just a step away from receiving the new section from Attiko Metro.

Then, a fire at an adjacent conservation building, obstructed the delivery of the extension, as the use of the line was banned by the police, “trapping the project in the greek bureauratic procedures.

An autopsy was performed by the Ministry of Culture, deciding that the building could be demolished, apart from its facade. However, this requires a detailed demolition study by the Municipality of Piraeus.

At this point in time, Attiko Metro expects from the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality to address any interventions needed in order to remove the traffic ban and allow the completion of the remaining works that concern the installation of telematics and a substation.

Extension to operate towards the end of the year

Based on the above and having in mind the best prospects, the delivery of the 5.4 km long single-track line for the extension of the Tram to Piraeus, with 11 stops is expected to be operational by the end of the year.

At that point, the first lot of the “new generation” tramsets are expected to be delivered by Alstom, making the service of the line extension possible and reinforcing the existing fleet, which is now considered “missing”. A total of 25 tramsets will be received.

It is reminded that the project started in early 2013 with a completion schedule of 25 months. If it finally operates at the end of 2020 it will have completed 94 months (!), i.e. almost four times the period that was originally calculated.

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HRADF: International tender for “South Kavala” natural gas reservoir, launched

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The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF), following the decision of its Board of Directors, has launched an international public tender process for the concession of the use, development and operation of an underground natural gas storage facility (“UGS”) in the almost depleted natural gas field of “South Kavala”.

The almost depleted natural gas field “South Kavala” is located in the southwestern part of the Prinos-Kavala basin, in 52 meters of water depth in the North Aegean Sea, about 6 km off the west coast of Thassos.

The duration of the concession agreement will be up to 50 years following the licensing of the UGS in South Kavala. The conversion of the natural gas field “South Kavala” into a UGS will be carried out by the concessionaire within a binding period to be determined in the concession agreement.

The UGS South Kavala is intended to serve as an energy infrastructure that will enhance the security of supply in the Greek market as well as in Southeastern Europe ensuring gas supply to end users and facilitating the security-of-supply obligations of power producers and natural gas suppliers.

Tender process

The tender process for the award of a concession agreement for the use, development and operation of the UGS South Kavala will be held in two phases: a) submission of expressions of interest and pre-qualification of interested parties and b) submission of binding offers and selection of concessionaire.

The details of the tender process are described in the Invitation to submit an Expression of Interest which is available on HRADF’s website. Interested parties are invited to submit their expression of interest by no later than August 31st, 2020, 14:00 (GR time).

PriceWaterhouseCoopers Business Solutions S.A. (Financial), ROKAS Law Firm (Legal) and Seal Energy Pty Ltd (Technical) act as advisors to the Fund regarding the tender process.

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EU funds rail cybersecurity research

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Σήραγγα Μετρό

The Safety4Rails research programme to improve the resilience of railways and metros to cyber and physical attacks is one of five projects that will share €38m in funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 research budget.

The package announced by Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education & Youth Mariya Gabriel on June 15 also includes the 7Shield project to improve prevention, detection, response and mitigation of cyber and physical threats to space infrastructure and the Ensures project covering e-commerce and delivery services.

The Impetus and S4AllCities projects are respectively aimed at enhancing the resilience of cities’ infrastructure and services and at protecting citizens in the event of security incidents in public spaces. All five are due to start by October 2020 and run for two years.

Horizon 2020 is contributing €7·7m towards the €9·6m Safety4Rails project, which will be co-ordinated by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute.

Recognising that railways and metros could be an attractive target for cyber and/or physical attacks, Safety4Rails is intended to ‘deliver methods and systems to increase the safety and recovery of track-based inter-city railway and intra-city metro transport’. This could range from cyber attacks such as the WannaCry virus or physical attacks like the Madrid commuter train bombings in 2014 to combined cyber-physical attacks, which the promoters suggest are ‘an important emerging scenario given increasing IoT infrastructure integration’.

The research will focus on rush-hour scenarios where many passengers are using metros and railways to commute or attend mass events, including multi-venue sporting tournaments. In the event of an incident, operators have to consider many aspects of passenger safety and security, ranging from threat analysis and situation awareness to the establishment of crisis communication and communicating any responses to passengers and other organisations.

The project aims to take a holistic approach to incident handling, analysing the cyber-physical resilience of metro and railway systems and providing mitigation strategies for an efficient response, as well as facilitating continuous adaptation to address ‘ever-changing novel emerging risks’. Various proposals will be validated by two rail transport operators and fed back into the design of the final recommendations.

‘Securing network and information systems and enhancing cyber resilience are key for shaping Europe’s digital future’, said Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton. ‘As we are faced with a diverse array of cybersecurity threats, the EU is taking concrete measures to protect critical infrastructure, cities and citizens. More investments at EU and national level in innovative cybersecurity technologies and solutions are of paramount importance to strengthen EU’s resilience to cyberattacks.’

Source: railwaygazette.com

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