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Smart Motorway to cut commute, improve traffic management

by Euan Brown •
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Sydney’s M4 motorway will be equipped with smart technologies to improve travel times, according to a pre-election promise from NSW Premier Mike Baird. The proposal is open for community comment until 10 April 2015.

The concept design and Review of Environmental Factors (REF) was prepared by Jacobs Group (Australia) under a $5.3 million contract with Roads and Maritime Services (RMS), and involved traffic and environmental impact modelling.

The upgrades will utilise “real-time information, communication and traffic management tools to provide motorists with a safer, smoother and more reliable journey,” according to the RMS factsheet. It mirrors similar initiatives internationally, including New York City’s ‘midtown in motion’ (MiM)’, which features active traffic management guided by microwave sensors, cameras and toll pass readers.

The M4 Smart Motorway design is intended to provide drivers with clearer messaging to reflect real-time situations. Information will be based on data collect by sensors installed at motorway entry and exit points and at 500 metre intervals along the motorway. The real-time information will determine speed limits and lane closures and openings.

RMS expects the technology will shave off up to 15 minutes of travel time per trip and reduce crashes by 30 per cent each year. 

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