An Australian-first innovation is aiming to improve the safety of snowy road connections in New South Wales, by offering real-time updates on hazardous alpine road conditions.
Sensors and weather stations have been installed as part of the ‘Real Time Alpine Info Pilot’ to identify and detect the warning signs of black icy and dangerous driving conditions.
These roadside weather stations have been installed at five locations this season, equipped with specialised sensors to monitor road surface temperatures, air temperature, precipitation and wind speed.
Data received from the weather stations will be used to predict when and where hazardous road conditions develop ahead of the next snow season in New South Wales. Data from the solar-powered weather stations is transmitted through a special low-power long range wide area network (LoRaWAN).
The new network is also linked to traffic counters on key roads including Kosciuszko Road, Alpine Way and Snowy Mountains Highway to provide a real time indication of parking availability.
Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary for Customer Strategy and Technology, Joost De Kock said the pilot leverages road monitoring tools being used overseas and emerging data network technologies.
“Getting live alerts through signs, live traffic apps, and websites is better for drivers, and safer for our staff who currently inspect alpine roads manually.”
Member for Monaro Nichole Overall said the technology would be good for local industry and development.
“Live updates about your trip are empowering, arming you with awareness of black ice hazards, or providing the knowledge to turn around and not travel up the mountain, due to full carparks. It puts drivers in a better position to make safe and informed decisions.”
Once the Real Time Alpine Info Pilot is complete, TfNSW will investigate other sites prone to snow and black ice, like the Great Western Highway, that could benefit from the introduction of this technology.
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