In 2014, more than 220 road users in Australia were killed in crashes involving heavy vehicles, representing almost 20% of road deaths that year. Crashes involving heavy vehicles generally result in more serious road trauma outcomes, with approximately 1,550 people requiring hospitalisation per year as a result of these types of crashes. With an average hospital stay for road trauma costing $259,000, this equates to an enormous cost to society.
Presently, more than 75% of all freight in Australia is delivered by road, and this is expected to continue to grow. This growth will result in an increased number of heavy vehicles sharing the road network with other road users. The greatest impact will occur around cities, towns and suburbs situated along major transport corridors, and where facilities such as ports, inter-modal freight terminals, large warehouses, and distribution centres are located.
Transmax is currently working on an exciting and intelligent technology to improve heavy vehicle safety in urban areas, through an enhancement to STREAMS.
The Heavy Vehicle Management project utilises the Emergency Vehicle Priority (EVP) technology to make urban roads safer despite the growing number of heavy vehicles sharing increasingly constrained and congested road networks. Through the application of proven data communications, traffic signal and transport system technologies, STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management can:
- Detect when a heavy vehicle is unlikely to stop at an intersection and extend the green phase
- Detect and prioritise the passage of heavy vehicles on approved routes to improve safety and community benefits
- Create heavy vehicle green waves for registered vehicles to provide safe conditions for dangerous goods and wide loads.
Improving safety for all road users
Studies indicate traffic signals are the most common site for heavy vehicle crashes in urban areas. STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management can detect if a heavy vehicle is unable to safely stop at an intersection and can dynamically extend the green signal to allow the heavy vehicle to continue through the intersection in a safe and controlled manner. This improves safety for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, as it reduces the number of heavy vehicles dangerously running a red traffic signal.
Delivering benefits to the wider community
The sound of heavy vehicles regularly applying compression brakes in urban areas can negatively impact the quality of life of residents living nearby. By decreasing the number of times a heavy vehicle is required to stop at a red traffic signal, particularly at night, STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management can reduce the number of instances of compression braking. This benefit extends to reducing carbon emissions, as less fuel is used when the number of times a heavy vehicle is required to stop at traffic signals is reduced.
During the day, and particularly during peak periods of traffic, STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management can help reduce congestion caused by heavy vehicles requiring significant distance and time to decelerate and accelerate safely when stopping at traffic signals.
Increasing cost savings
By reducing the number of times a heavy vehicle is required to stop at a red traffic signal, STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management can reduce wear on tyres, and brake stress experienced during braking and accelerating, which subsequently reduces the road wear and road surface stress ordinarily caused by braking and accelerating.
STREAMS Heavy Vehicle Management provides drivers with a safe way to improve heavy vehicle travel times by decreasing the time spent stopped at red traffic signals, in addition to the time spent decelerating and accelerating.