cablex AG | Tannackerstrasse 7 | 3073 Gümligen |

16/12/2019  /  Carolin Primerova

cablex realises its first large project in the traffic engineering line of business.

The City of Zurich Traffic Department developed the City Traffic 2025 strategy to ensure a flow of traffic that is as safe and smooth as possible. During the course of this project, the control units as well as parts of the outdoor installations (traffic lights, control units, tactile pedestrian pushbuttons with vibration, etc.) are to be replaced by the year 2025 for 400 city traffic control systems. Siemens Mobility AG is allowed to carry out the implementation for 210 traffic control Systems.

As a partner of Siemens Mobility, cablex takes over the conversion of the outdoor installations and replacement of the control units. This means that cablex realises its first big project in this new traffic engineering line of business.

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As a partner of Siemens Mobility, cablex takes over the conversion of the outdoor installations and replacement of the control units. This means that cablex realises its first big project in this new traffic engineering line of business.

Expressed in numbers, cablex will convert around 2800 traffic lights in the next four years, and also remove and reinstall tactile pedestrian pushbuttons with vibration. The realisation of the conversions is carried out on Tuesdays in each case. This has been defined by the City of Zurich Department of Traffic for the entire construction period.

One of the many locations where the modification is being realised is the traffic control system at the intersection of Basler- and Luggwegstrasse. The traffic hub is located right in front of the busy Europa Bridge. cablex converted the existing traffic control system at this hub 436, as the intersection is also called. This concerns the existing control unit with a “coordi part” (control unit with side piece) as well as 12 poles with the respective traffic lights.

Good preparation ensures a smooth installation.

The material logistics must be ensured to guarantee a smooth onsite process for the conversion of the existing traffic control system. A variety of preliminary work is performed for this:

All the material supplied by Siemens Mobility is prepared at the traffic engineering location in Regensdorf. All traffic lights are wired and their functionality tested. Furthermore, there must be a check to ensure whether all the templates (e.g. car turning arrows) have been delivered correctly and correspond to the documents of the Department of Traffic. After being checked, the traffic lights are put on the slate and packed.

All parts of the system have to be ready to install immediately at the construction site, so that they only have to be assigned to the correct location and installed without losing any time.

For a large traffic hub like the intersection at Basler- and Luggwegstrasse, three employees require up to two days for checking and preparing the material.

The conversion – fast, professional and flawless.

The particular challenge of this project is that the traffic control system has to be converted within one day. As called for by the situation, the conversion measures are carried out overnight, so that it can be ensured that the intersection can be put back into operation at 16.00 on the following day.

There is a control unit that is combined with a coordination distributor at hub 436 at Basler/Luggwegstrasse. The “coordi part” is the part to which the stub or ring line of the individual coordination cables are connected. The corresponding control unit receives the respective command from the traffic computer via the coordination line. At locations where multiple coordination cables converge, either a separate distribution cabinet is setup, or they are combined with a control unit with a separate (side part) (“coordi part”).

Work must be carried out extremely carefully, because damage to the “coordi distributor” has fatal consequences.

In some circumstances, a disruption to the “coordi part” can cause the failure of multiple traffic control Systems.

Digression: There are 7 traffic computers in the city of Zurich, which communicate with each other via optical fibre cables. The 400 traffic control systems communicate via copper cables, which are connected across all of the city of Zurich via the coordination cable network.

The difficulty concerning outdoor installations is that everything has to be carefully removed and reinstalled in piecework. All structural parts must match, all functions of the traffic lights must be reconnected again. No mistakes can be made. To ensure the high quality standard of cablex, the project manager checks the work of the installer right after completion. That way, any mistakes are discovered immediately and remedied right away.

The project managers and installers of the cablex traffic engineering team did very good work in lot 1. The start-up has been flawless so far, to the satisfaction of Siemens Mobility and the Department of Traffic of the City of Zurich.

This was also confirmed by Daniel Bärtsch, head of Intelligent Traffic Systems, Siemens Mobility AG:

“The timed weekly conversion of the 200 light signal systems called for clean planning and consistent implementation of the highest quality. I am delighted that we also have cablex as a reliable partner in this project, who live out the same quality standards as Siemens Mobility. In addition, I appreciate that we are more or less neighbours at the Zurich location and therefore have very short communication channels.”


Once the existing traffic control system has been converted to the new control unit and the new system parts, realisation of the traffic hub is not yet completed. The old, removed system parts are sorted out accordingly. Here, the lamps are removed from the traffic lights and then checked, cleaned and carefully packed, and the old control unit is reassembled to the extent possible. Only when the dismantled material is completely prepared and has been transported back to the customer’s storage facility, and also unneeded material has been disposed of professionally, is the individual order completed.

An eight-person team was deployed for a big traffic control system like the one at Basler/Luggwegstrasse. This included two installers who were responsible for exchanging the control unit, four for conversion of the outdoor installation, and two for the angle support with the overhead traffic lights and the FLIR (camera for counting).

In lot 1/2019, ten traffic control systems were converted in the time from the end of September to the tenth of December. cablex AG’s Head of Sales Business Unit Infrastructure, Giulio Panzera, is also proud of the flagship project and of having such a high-responsibility role as a partner of Siemens Mobility.  

“Converting the city of Zurich’s traffic light systems is a strategically important flagship project for cablex. It is a privilege for us to be carrying out this major project for Siemens Mobility. We see it as critical, as a reliable partner, to ensure that the high quality and deadline requirements of Siemens Mobility and the City of Zurich are met in this project,” said Giulio Panzera, Head of Sales Business Unit Infrastructure at cablex AG. 

The second part of batch 1/2020 begins on 21 January 2020 up to the middle of June 2020. This is followed by batch 2/2020 up to the end of December 2020. The project will run about four years and will therefore be completed in 2023/2024.

cablex AG | Tannackerstrasse 7 | 3073 Gümligen | Phone 0848 222 539 | cablex.info@cablex.ch