With the research and development programme Borealis, a 40-kilometre-long stretch of the E8 in Skibotndalen is becoming a national test laboratory for new technology. This is where the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) tests and develops Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). ITS is an umbrella term covering technology and computer systems in the transport sector. In an ITS system, communication can flow from one vehicle to another, from the vehicle to the roadway or from the roadway to the vehicle.

Examples of ITS technology include real-time information about the weather, road surface conditions and traffic accidents, automatic scanning of the vehicle’s brakes, and warnings of wildlife or other obstacles on the roadway.

Dual goal

ITS consists of technology and computer systems with a dual goal: For road users and transport operators, ITS can make the drive safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly. For those who operate and maintain the road, ITS can make it easier to implement the right measures at the right time. 

Demanding winter road

The E8 from Skibotn to Kilpisjärvi is one of five Norwegian road sections selected as pilots for the development and testing of ITS solutions in Norway. This road was selected for its socio-economic significance. It is a road with demanding winter conditions and a large share of heavy vehicles; 26 percent of all traffic. This share of heavy vehicles has increased by more than 70 percent since 2010.

Cooperation with Finland

The pilot project in Norway from Skibotn to Kilpisjärvi has been named Borealis. Finland has a corresponding project, named Aurora, for the roadway section running from Kilpisjärvi to Kolari. A three-year agreement for the Finnish-Norwegian cooperation project Aurora Borealis was signed in the Finnish city of Muonio in February of 2016.