Traffic Warning System Saves Lives
Throughout the busy Danish road network there are a number of recently installed advanced traffic management solutions that keep the traffic moving freely and above all safely. The Danish Ministry of Traffic have the ultimate responsibility for the roads in Denmark, but many of the safety and automation solutions are designed and installed by companies like Swarco.
Swarco were founded in Austria at the end of the 60’s, but have grown to be a global provider of traffic automation solutions. Today the Swarco group consists of more than 60 companies located all over the world. Their core business is to provide modern traffic safety and automation solutions.
In Denmark, Swarco has specialised in smart solutions for traffic and infrastructure, and are now considered the market leader for intelligent transport systems. Installations can be found all over Denmark on roads, railway and in car parks. The company contribution to society is increased mobility, improved road safety and solutions that have a positive impact on the environment.
One of the many requirements from the Danish Ministry of Traffic was improvement of the safety at several multi-lane highway entries where serious accidents had occurred in the past. Despite numerous warning signs, there were still occasions where drivers have made a wrong turn when entering the highway and ended up driving into the oncoming traffic, particularly at night or in bad weather. A system has been developed to help guide drivers onto the correct lane if possible. At sites where it is not possible to change lane, the flashing lights will get the drivers attention who hopefully stops the car. This system has been installed in seven different locations and has already been put to the test on several occasions.
A sensor in the road at the beginning of the highway entry triggers an alarm if a car passes it from the wrong direction. Emergency warning lights in the road are immediately activated and start flashing to notify the “wrong turners” that they are driving in the wrong direction. When the system activates, an alarm could be sent via email and SMS to the control centre where the situation can be monitored with traffic surveillance cameras.
A cabinet at the side of the road holds the control system. A Swarco designed controller, manages all the local control and communications. For remote connectivity, Swarco has chosen the Westermo MRD-310 industrial 3G router. The transparent 3G router provides easy remote access to the controller over a secure IPsec encrypted VPN tunnel. Using the HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) protocol, the downlink capacity is up to 7.2 Mbit/s allowing high bandwidth devices like video recorders to be used on the system.
Over a seven month period on the seven sites, four cases of wrong turns have been reported. In three of the cases the vehicles changed lane when the warning system activated and in the final case the situation could be immediately monitored and action taken to minimise the risk to the road users. The seven installations are being tested until 2013, but with these positive outcomes and potentially lives saved, it is likely that this solution will be deployed at many more sites in Denmark.