Road infrastructure systems and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) have a significant impact on the safety of motorists. The Side Road Activated Speedsign is one way of saving lives through clever system design, as it includes the integration of sensors and visual messaging through illuminated speed signs.
Side Road Activated Speeds (SRAS) systems are an innovative method to reduce crashes at intersections in rural areas. The system will detect when traffic is attempting to cross the intersection, then switch on signs that reduce the speed from an indicated speed. This allows for more reaction time and increases the gap for drivers to cross the intersection or turn onto the road. The SRAS is an active system that replaces static warning signs in a manner that is adaptable to the traffic requirements of the location.
Rather than permanently dropping the speed near the intersection, the active system will only reduce the speed when traffic is present at particular locations. This minimises disruption on the high speed lanes of the road, but also creates a more visually noticeable speed change to drivers nearing the intersection. The lower speed of the intersection will not only decrease the risk of crashes, but also increase survivability.
Reducing crashes in regional areas
The Victorian Government is increasing its commitment to road safety through smarter systems with programs such as the joint TAC and VicRoads Safe System Road Infrastructure Program (SSRIP) and the Safer Roads Projects in conjunction with Towards Zero.
As reported in a recent article published by the RACV, in the past five years over 70 per cent of fatal crashes at intersections in regional Victoria happened on high speed roads. Furthermore, this risk increased where the minor roads met the main roads.
A new trial by Hi-Lux Technical Services, an Australian-owned manufacturer and supplier of quality LED Signs, Traffic Management Systems and associated Control and Detection equipment, is a first for the new standard of SRAS systems installed in Australia.
As Australia has a significant amount of high speed main roads connecting its rural communities, there are many intersections that would benefit from the installation of the SRAS systems, especially where communities are attempting to reduce the deadly road toll.
As this trial involved installing some of the first of these new systems, getting the timing right for the location was a process of calculation, adjusting based on real world feedback from traffic activity, and coordination with VicRoads. As the system was connected through a 4G connection back to base, in addition to its connection to the STREAMS system, it was a simple matter for the software engineers at Hi-Lux to modify the existing system based on the clients’ request.
Hi-Lux was able to provide the SRAS system that was designed in-house, using Australian Standard VSLS signs, and software systems that could be catered exactly to the clients’ needs. This also made it easy to develop custom requirements based on the changing circumstances, tuning the system once it was in place. Hi-Lux was also able to install all civil works, taking care to manage the site according to environmental and situational requirements.
Hi-Lux develops smart traffic management solutions that incorporate the latest technology for sensing and detecting traffic, and produces its own in-house signalling and sign systems. With a focus on high reliability, low-power, solar-based systems, they can be installed in metropolitan or rural areas with a minimal installation process.
Hi-Lux is committed to local production and works with Australian suppliers and manufacturers to bring a distinctly reliable and Australian product environment, with local support and warranty. What this means for their customers is a commitment to working with local, state or federal governments to provide highly reliable systems that are backed up by Australian standards, specifications and the knowledge of professionals that have decades of experience in the design, operation and installation of intelligent road infrastructure.
Long-term ITS experience
Another major product that is having a significant impact on the industry is Wide Area Network Vehicle Message Signs (WANVMS) which are large signs using high visibility and high reliability LEDs to display information to motorists. These have been installed in both Victoria and South Australia, and are used to display arterial road travel times. This time is sourced from online map and traffic flow services in conjunction with the state’s road authority.
Congestion Monitoring Cameras are also key in increasing road safety and their series of IP cameras have been placed near intersections throughout Melbourne. Installing them often requires the shutdown of intersections, hence speedy installation and commissioning is a direct benefit to the public.
Hi-Lux installed over 200 cameras to assist in monitoring the congestion caused by other infrastructure works such as Victoria’s level crossing removal project.
In recent years there has been a greater emphasis placed on remote sites using standalone power systems. Hi-Lux has installed many solar-based systems that will operate with minimal maintenance for more than ten years. The growth in off-grid ITS devices will continue to increase as the cost savings of solar systems outperforms the installation of mains-based devices. For example, a solar-based system that consists of a solar panel, battery box and the device operating may only involve the civil works required for a single pole.
An integrated approach
With the increasing need to implement infrastructure with smaller cost margins, using vertically-integrated services becomes more valuable – both in time, investment and ongoing maintenance. Hi-Lux Technical Services is a vertically integrated ITS company, so it’s able to design and manufacture signage systems as well as install and maintain them. This allows Hi-Lux to be a single source for getting ITS built, installed and maintained for the long term.
Hi-Lux is also an SRAS manufacturer, so it can provide continuing support to the installed sites and the continuing operations of the equipment.
While other groups have just recently entered the world of interconnected infrastructure, Hi-Lux has been building and installing IoT devices that have been running, often unattended and functional, for more than 20 years.
Hi-Lux is also an advocate for open standards that allow interoperability between multiple manufacturers. It adheres to all Australian and New Zealand standards, while also working with state road authorities to meet their specifications. With the development of more advanced ITS requirements, implementation is always going to be a moving target.
Working with other organisations, Hi-Lux has integrated its technology into its own systems which has assisted with getting new sites developed fast, and installed with minimum effort.
As many states around Australia invest more heavily in infrastructure, it is imperative that long-term participants in the industry continue to assist in the implementation of ITS operations.
Governments must take note of the overall cost of installation, as well as the ongoing costs associated with sub par equipment. Hi-Lux has a commitment to quality and this is evident in the long-term installations of equipment, which include over 2000 ESLS units deployed in Victoria that have been operating with an industry-leading low failure rate.
Australian owned and operated
This partner content is brought to you by Hi-Lux Technical Services. Hi-Lux was started by Sam Sozio in 1991, primarily as a traffic signal maintenance company, then progressively applying its expertise in other fields. It now provides a complete range of products and solutions to the traffic signal industry and government departments throughout Australia. For assistance with the design, manufacture or installation of high reliability ITS products and signage, please contact Hi-Lux Technical Services and they are ready to work with you. Call 03 9462 4633 or visit www.hlts.com.au.