Trafficalm is one of the leaders in Driver Feedback Signs and this year at ATSSA they made a big splash with their new Sign Alert system. Attach this system to any sign and you have a clear attention-grabbing machine with all kinds of possible add-ons.
There have been several different studies done on LED flashing signs, but today I want to focus on wrong way alert systems. The Sign Alert was created as a result of Trafficalm gaining compliance for their wrong alert system. Now when you are implementing a wrong way alert system you are looking for three key ingredients: Get the attention of drivers, be incredibly reliable, and be able to install them throughout entire corridor.
It has been established that flashing signs draw the attention of drunk, tired, or confused drivers to key warning signs that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. When you are intoxicated your field of view narrows so you are no longer paying attention to the regulatory posted signs. The same principle applies when you are experiencing confusion your brain is trying to figure out what's happening and takes away processing power from your information input. Flashing lights draws the attention of the drunk driver and confused drivers by causing them to look directly at the sign which then gives them the opportunity to turn around. Nobody wakes up in the morning thinking "tonight I want to drive the wrong way on the freeway" 69% of wrong way drivers are drunk and the other major portion are made up of the elderly above the age of 70 according to Caltrans division of research.
Trafficalm's wrong way alert system is currently being used across the U.S. Arizona currently has approximately 30 locations and at this point have found no false alarms. Once DOTs have firm confidence in these systems then they can eliminate their reaction time by:
- Automatically have overhead alert messages on a trigger system.
- Automatically send an alert message straight to the highway patrol dispatch office.
For obvious reasons, you can't have these triggers in place until you have absolute confidence that the system will not have any false alarms.
The last ingredient is covering entire corridors at a time. It is possible to identify high-risk areas but if you see an incident graph of wrong-way drivers they seem incredibly sporadic. The reason is the driver is the primary problem not necessarily the infrastructure. Let's walk through a typical scenario with an expensive wrong way alert system. You have a high-profile crash that makes front page news. Then, you go in make all the correct changes and eight months later two exits down you have another high-profile crash and the cycle repeats. In order to not chase the problem, and end the cycle you need to cover entire corridors from the beginning. Trafficalm immediately recognized this issue and came out at a 10th of the price of their competitors. Their system is not designed to be placed on one offramp but on a whole corridor or throughout an entire city.
All of Trafficalms incredible hard work on their wrong way alert system has now transferred into the Sign Alert. The Sign Alert can now be utilized in any application, workzones, curve warning, speed limit, pedestrian crossing, flooding. If you have a sign Trafficalm can bring attention to it.
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