New Zealand’s first weather-activated road signs goes live

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways November 2, 2015 11:23

New Zealand’s first weather-activated road signs goes live

The Transport Agency’s chief safety advisor, Colin Brodie (left) and Transport Minister, Simon Bridges check out one of the new weather-activated speed signs on State Highway 29.

New Zealand’s first weather-activated road signs with adjustable speed limits will go live on State Highway 29 over the Kaimai Range today.

The 22 high-tech signs are part of an innovative NZ Transport Agency trial that aims to reduce the crash rate on the steep road, which links the Waikato and the Bay of Plenty.

The variable speed signs, along with four web cameras, will be linked to a weather station at the summit of the Kaimai Range.

The Transport Agency will monitor the weather station and adjust the speeds between 30km/h to 100km/h depending on conditions. The speeds will be enforced by police once the trial goes live on today.

The Transport Agency’s chief safety advisor, Colin Brodie says the two year 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 percent 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 conditions,” he says.

“Despite the changeable weather on the Kaimai Range people still attempt to travel at 100km/h.

“These signs will allow us to drop the speeds to 60km/h on the Waikato side and 80km/h on the Bay of Plenty in adverse weather.

“They will also be used during road works or in the event of a crash when speeds may be reduced to as low as 30km/h.”

Mr Brodie says the Transport Agency is working closely with police and others to reduce deaths and serious injuries on New Zealand roads, as part of the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy.

“Our work to create a truly safe transport system needs safe roads, safe vehicles, safe road use and safe speeds,” he says.

“This trial aims to get people driving at safe speeds that are appropriate to the road and conditions.

“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.”

Thinking Highways
By Thinking Highways November 2, 2015 11:23