Saving Lives with Speed Awareness and Adverse Weather Warnings

January 20 2017

Recent Department for Transport (DFT) figures reveal an increase in the number of people killed on British roads, including a 22% increase in the number of children killed or seriously injured between July and September 2016. In fact a road safety charity recently revealed that the number of road deaths was 10 times greater than deaths in the workplace. Whilst many factors impact safety on our roads, there are certain aspects of motorist behaviour which can be addressed using simple advanced warning and speed signage.

The use of mobile temporary speed indication devices on residential roads or near schools, can have a positive impact on reducing motorist speed. Due to their portable nature, the signs can be moved around a local authority area and motorist behaviour directly monitored using a data logging device,which can be added to the sign. This is one way of measuring and monitoring risk in a critical area like outside a school.

Given the importance of improving overall road safety and the high economic costs associated with road traffic accidents, it is vital that we consider new methods of controlling traffic and motorist behaviour. There are numerous ways of improving road safety and increased use of temporary ‘intelligent transport system (ITS) technologies’ has greatly benefited road users. A current hot topic has been the effect of adverse weather on road safety. A current Mobile VMS project in Galway, Ireland is using mobile variable message signs to communicate directly with weather sensors and vital road weather information is transmitted in real-time to motorists in advance of accident black spots. The Galway project involves the use of ‘water film thickness sensors, direct communication with our JamLogic traffic management software and the display of vital warning information via our mobile variable message signs. The advance weather warnings are issued when certain pre-set thresholds are met with VMS signage displaying messages such as “reduce speed, surface water, extreme caution”.  This prevents serious accidents and possible fatalities as a result of aquaplaning.

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