Transport for NSW trials smart tech for road safety

Summary:Transport for NSW will invest more than AU$3 million in new technology in an aim to reduce truck driver fatalities.

Transport for NSW will begin trialling two road safety technologies aimed to improve road safety for truck drivers next month.

The first will be the AU$2.14 million Smart Rest Area trial, which will be jointly funded by the Australian federal and NSW governments, to allow truck drivers to receive instant information about where heavy vehicle rest areas are located; the distance and estimated travel time to rest areas; and the vacancy details of those rest areas.

Each rest area will be fitted with a measuring device to measure the size of the vehicles entering and leaving the rest area in a bid to establish how much parking is available.

The information will be then communicated to a downloadable smart rest app that will inform truck drivers of the availability of a rest area.

The four-month trial, which will kick off in late May, will involve seven popular rest areas for trucks over 210 kilometres on the Newell Highway between Narrabri and Gilgandra in NSW, and transport industry companies operating on the Newell Highway.

Centre for Road Safety general manager Marg Prendergast said the trial will help truck drivers better manage fatigue by taking rest opportunities

According to Transport for NSW, 369 people were killed on NSW roads in 2012. At least, 17 percent of these fatalities arose from a crash where fatigue was a contributory factor. Fatigue was also a factor in 33 per cent of fatalities from single vehicle heavy truck crashes.

In addition to this, Transport for NSW will be investing AU$1.4 million into its Cooperative Intelligent Transport Initiative project, which is being developed from the Hume Highway and Picton Road interchange near Wilton to Port Kembla.

The technology will allow heavy vehicles to communicate with each other and roadside equipment such as traffic signals and weather stations, in an effort to improve road safety, reduce congestion, increase efficiency, and improve the response to incidents and crashes.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said at least 30 heavy vehicles will be fitted with the technology in 2014 and expects the project to run for five years.

Topics: Government : AU, Travel Tech

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Since completing a degree in journalism, Aimee has had her fair share of covering various topics, including business, retail, manufacturing, and travel. She continues to expand her repertoire as a tech journalist with ZDNet.

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