Based on current research and development efforts, we can all be fairly certain that smart road signs will be broadly utilized in the years to come. They serve as one of the major components of an emerging system designed to enhance the current infrastructure. These indicators are useful tools, and they can have a positive impact on all who share the roads. Most importantly, this type of signage has the potential to improve our way of life.
What is a “Smart” Road Sign?
Before we may fully understand how these placards can elevate our driving experience, we must first have a basic grasp of what they are. We also need to have a general idea about why these modern innovations are being developed.
Let’s start by exploring the concept of the “Wireless Digital Traffic Sign Post.” This term refers to a traffic sign embedded with information. By way of firmware, microchips, and radios, the sign transmits data wirelessly to drivers and driverless cars.
When vehicles approach such a sign on the roadway, vital information is imparted to their drivers via their dashboard or their head-up display. Along with the visual data, voice narration may also be used to indicate changing roadway conditions. Instead of trying to read passing road indicators, drivers are thus better able to pay attention to the road.
However, the information transmitted from a given sign is “visible” to the vehicle’s infrared light. The sign alerts oncoming cars to slow down due to a change in the roadway. This sort of transmission can even help autonomous vehicles to stay in their lanes.
A primary reason for developing these route placards is to make the roads safer for all of us. The enhanced signage creates a more efficient experience for drivers. It can also complement the system designs of driverless cars.
How Do They Improve Our Lives?
Now that we understand the basics of smart road signs, we can address what they have to offer:
- Preventing Wrong-way Crashes – As discussed in a Phys.org article in 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has stated that hundreds of lives are lost annually to wrong-way crashes. In addition, thousands of people sustain injuries in such accidents.Based on research and field tests performed by the Florida Department of Transportation, certain kinds of intelligent road indicators may effectively catch the attention of people driving the wrong way on a roadway. The indicators that were tested included blank indicators that light up when they detect the presence of wrong-way vehicles.Another type of sign was designed with lights that light up in an asynchronous manner. Once a driver is alerted by the lights and can see the “Wrong Way” lettering, that person can turn around and proceed in the correct direction. This could save numerous lives and prevent countless injuries.
- Better Traffic Management and Safety – Through refined telematics and intelligent technology, it can be easier to “read” the locations and speeds of vehicles, such as those in a fleet.When vehicles and smart traffic control systems are connected via the cloud, the end results may be more manageable traffic, decreased gridlock, and better traffic
- Increased Cost Efficiency – We need to explore more cost-effective ways to strengthen the infrastructure. Building roads is expensive. While there is no substitution for new and upgraded roads, smart roadway indicators can be added to increase efficiency.They provide innovative ways to improve traffic flow, reduce congestion, regulate the patterns of traffic, and create an optimal balance of public and private transportation.
- Combating Poor Visibility – Road placards cannot help us if we are unable to read them. Many factors may cause drivers to misinterpret roadside signage or to miss it altogether. Aging drivers can have difficulty seeing roadway signs as they drive past them.Inexperienced drivers can easily misunderstand their meanings. Even those of us who have driven for years may find it challenging to remember the messages conveyed by conventional road signs. Additionally, bad lighting and weather can further decrease our capacity to use the signage as intended. Smart road indicators make it easier for us to detect and implement their alerts and instructions.
Are They Already in Use?
Smart roadway signage is not simply an objective for the future. Two UK companies have collaborated to produce these signs for use on England’s roads.
The signs are technologically advanced, with graphics and text that drivers can see clearly. The messages are easy to comprehend quickly, keeping drivers informed of route conditions as they change.
In addition to enhancing the roadway experience for users, this new signage costs less to maintain than traditional indicators. The new signs require fewer materials and less cabling, resulting in less time, upkeep, and expense.
Improving Our Lives with Smart Road Signs
Clearly, intelligent roadway placards can be a vital part of our driving experience. They enable a better way for drivers to access the information they need in real time on the roads. These signs can increase awareness of upcoming issues, which people might otherwise discover too late.
They may also augment the functionality of driverless vehicles.
The value of implementing this technology should not be underestimated. Smart roadway indicators have the potential to increase cost-efficiency, which eases the burden on governments and taxpayers. They facilitate a smoother driving process for both human drivers and autonomous vehicles.
The placards can be more user-friendly than the analog route signs we currently employ. Above all, they may ultimately lead to a safer network of roads for everyone.
At Worksafe Traffic Control Industries, we are dedicated to producing quality products. Contact us for more information on our highway signage and traffic control equipment. Together, we can work to ensure the safety of all who rely on our infrastructure.