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How IoT devices are improving road safety at rural intersections

SAGE Automation, (3 min read)

In 2020, within the Greater Adelaide region, 31% of fatal crashes were at intersections, according to the Statistical Summary of Road Crashes and Casualties.


To reduce the instance of such accidents, many state governments (including the South Australian Government) have committed to strategies that will help improve road safety. Supporting and enforcing safer road user behaviour is one of the priorities under SA’s road safety strategy.


Road user education can take many forms, and technology can be extremely effective in reducing the instance of accidents. However, for many rural areas, the high cost of implementing technology solutions that encourage safer road user behaviour can pose a challenge. This is set to change with a new system being trialled in several areas of South Australia.

Low-cost intelligent warning system improves safety at intersections

SAGE is working on the road safety project, in conjunction with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research, with support from the Australian Government’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) funding scheme and alongside the City of Onkaparinga, trialling a new low-cost treatment that will help to save lives on rural roads.


Rural Junction Active Warning System, or RJAWS, involves an intelligent warning system that detects when vehicles are approaching an intersection and then activates flashing warning lights installed on signs to improve awareness for drivers.


RJAWS has been developed to detect when vehicles are approaching on a side road, which activates flashing warning lights for drivers on the main road to alert them of the potential for a collision. In the event that a side road vehicle is not slowing down for the intersection, flashing lights on the top of a stop or give way sign are activated to warn drivers of their presence at an upcoming intersection.


The system is low-cost and highly reliable, using solar power and not requiring underground cables - making it simple to roll out to sites where it can add the most value.


Supporting safer road user behaviour by increasing awareness

Smart Cities Lead, Ashby Martin, was recently invited to talk to ABC Radio Adelaide about this new and innovative technology that is being used to improve road safety at rural junctions, truck turning lanes and level crossings.


“The safety system is something that we’re currently in development and trialling with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research and in conjunction with the City of Onkaparinga.


“It’s quite clever, as a car is approaching from either the major road or minor road, it’s able to trigger those signs as a response to entering a time of higher risk. There are flashing lights on the fast-moving road that people will be going 80km along, there’s also a flashing stop sign for people who might be approaching that T-junction without understanding that they are going to need to stop,” said Mr Martin. 


RJAWS Lite is a safety measure that helps to curb the problem of inattention, increasing driver awareness and providing an opportunity to slow down as another car is heading towards the intersection.


For rural areas that see lots of visitors who may be unfamiliar with the road network, or where complacency may be an issue, the safety system is designed to improve alertness and give drivers a better chance to react – potentially avoiding collisions.


Currently being considered for other potential intersections throughout the McLaren Vale region, RJAWS Lite are also in place throughout the Adelaide Hills.


SAGE also delivered a system designed to improve awareness of speed limits around school zones, detecting when pedestrians are present. Read the case study.


Dynamic school zones improve safety




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