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Smart Technology’s Role in Road Safety



The world seems to be moving faster and faster these days. The road safety industry is no different. As smart technology brings devices into our homes that are able to tell jokes, turn on the lights, and handle our alarm systems, it comes as no surprise that the same smart technology is making an appearance in our work zones.


Some of these advancements you may have already noticed. These include the slow removal of tolls in favor of transponder readers, as well as speed cameras able to send a ticket directly to your home. Other smart technologies used for road safety are less obvious, but still have big benefits.


Benefits of Automated Work Zone Technology


Automated work zone technology increases road safety for drivers, pedestrians, and work zone personnel alike. For example, some work zone equipment moves flaggers from the hazards of oncoming traffic, and allows them to operate remotely from behind a barrier.


Devices like speed cameras significantly reduce speeding rates and prevent accidents. Smart device ecosystems in work zones streamlines coordination between construction workers, road safety flaggers, and headquarters-- allowing them to communicate better and work harmoniously in a noisy and fast-paced construction area. Message boards displaying the expected time to a common destination reduce driver frustration and manage expectations for upcoming delays.


Removing personnel from the flow of traffic, preventing accidents, streamlining communication, and reducing driver frustration all leads to a better experience on Pennsylvania’s highways and backroads for all community road users.


Types of Smart Road Safety Equipment


Road safety equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. Something as simple as a message board can become smart when used with speed cameras or Wi-Fi-connectivity. Keep an eye out for the following smart road safety devices on your next road trip.


Automated Flagger Assistance Devices


Automated Flagger Assistance Devices (AFADs) are provided to Directional Traffic LLC by site2020. These remotely operated stands feature a light and a mechanical arm that can be raised and lowered. The light will flash either red or yellow to signal traffic to stop or move forward. A flag attached to the mechanical arm at the end greatly increases visibility for the driver.


AFADs are meant for only temporary traffic control in a work zone and are not recommended for long-term use. But when they are used, they have big benefits. Because of their remote operation capabilities, road safety flaggers are able to use the AFADs while staying safely out of harm’s way and out of the traffic flow. This simple function could save thousands of road flaggers who are at risk of serious injury, or even death.


Queue Warning Systems


You may have seen queue warning systems in action on your last road trip. There are a few different types of systems currently in use on the roads. The first type is a simple sign that hangs either above the highway or by the side of the road. These message boards display an updated time frame of when a driver can expect to be at a destination. They work by monitoring the speed of vehicles along stretches of roadway and updating the time frame accordingly. After reading the sign, drivers can make educated decisions on whether to take a detour or to prepare for a slowdown ahead.


Another type of queue warning system is more aggressive in its commitment to road safety. Like the signs, the system monitors the road ahead for signs of a slow down. Then, when drivers approach the area, lights flash, bringing attention to a sign that warns of a slow down ahead. If the lights are off, there is no upcoming congestion.


These queue warning systems prevent sudden and severe congestion on highways and similar high-speed roadways. When drivers are better able to prepare, they are less frustrated, thereby decreasing the risk of accidents.


Remote Video Monitoring


Remote video monitoring can be added to message boards to enhance road safety and track equipment location by GPS. These remote video monitoring (RVM) systems consist of a message board and video camera combination that can be connected to a computer anywhere. The message on the sign is changed remotely, without ever visiting the location. Video cameras provide real-time traffic monitoring and the ability to tilt, pan, and zoom right from a computer. When connected in a large system throughout a work zone, these RVMs allow road safety workers to prevent congestion and monitor speed of oncoming vehicles in order to enhance safety.


Staying on the Cutting Edge


At Directional Traffic, we work hard to stay on the cutting edge of road safety technology. That’s why we invested in AFADs-- so we could provide our clients and employees with the safest work zones possible. If you’re interested in seeing our AFADs in action, check out our website. You’ll be able to see videos and pictures of AFADs on real roadways, in active work zones. Contact us for sales and rentals.


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