First weather-activated signs
New Zealand’s first weatheractivated road signs have gone live on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range.
‘‘The weather station gives the information to the speed signs so the road is in a smart way allowing and informing drivers to drive to the conditions,’’ Transport minister Simon Bridges said at the site last week ahead of the signs being turned on on November 2.
‘‘Whether that is sunny, which is at 100kmh, or whether it is serious wind, fog, rain or ice, where the speed can come down.
‘‘I’m really confident we can get better road safety out of this.’’
During the two year trial, MetService weather systems on the range and powered by a combination of solar, wind and battery, will send alerts of rain or fog to the Auckland Transport Operations Centre.
The transport agency will then decide if they need to activate lower speed limits through their 22 electronic signs on the Kaimai, New Zealand Transport Agency’s chief safety adviser, Colin Brodie said.
The transport agency will monitor the weather station and their four web cameras and adjust the speeds between 30kmh to 100kmh depending on conditions.
‘‘These signs will allow us to drop the speeds to 60kmh on the Waikato side and 80kmh on the Bay of Plenty in adverse weather,’’ Brodie said.
‘‘They will also be used during road works or in the event of a crash when speeds may be reduced to as low as 30kmh.’’
The trial aims to encourage people to drive at safe speeds when rain, ice and fog hit the Kaimai Range.
‘‘Our data shows that over 70 per cent of the crashes on the Kaimai Range happen in wet weather, and that over 40 per cent of these were caused by drivers travelling too fast for the con- ditions,’’ he said.
‘‘Despite the changeable weather on the Kaimai Range people still attempt to travel at 100kmh.
‘‘ If it is successful, and there is a reduction in death and serious injuries within the trial site, it may be rolled out across similar sites around New Zealand.’’
The New Zealand Transport Agency’s chief safety advisor Colin Brodie and Transport minister Simon Bridges in front of the weather-activated road signs on the Kaimai Range.