It’s mission control: Intelligent driving switched on

INTELLIGENT technology has helped slash the number of accidents, shorten travel times and improve efficiency along the M4 from Penrith to Parramatta a year after being permanently switched on.

Minister for Metropolitan Roads Natalie Ward said the NSW Government’s $600M investment in the state’s first fully operated smart motorway has delivered impressive safety results along with faster, more efficient journeys.

“In December 2020 we officially flicked the switch and we’re thrilled with the results so far. In the 12 months since, the total number of accidents has dropped 40 per cent and travel times are down 20 per cent on pre-upgrade figures from 2016,” Mrs Ward said.

“There’s also been a jump of around 10 per cent in usage in recent years, with up to 35 thousand additional daily trips, as more people recognise the time saving benefits.”

Minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said this crucial stretch between Penrith and Parramatta featured an automated and responsive operating system.

“This means more than 1,300 road sensors located every 500 metres and on ramps with CCTV work together in real time to prompt operator control of variable message signs, variable speed signs, lane control signs and ramp signals,” Mr Ayres said.

“The sensors detect congestion and automatically lowers the speed limit on the variable signs. They also activate the entry ramps’ traffic lights to optimise traffic flow.”

Member for Mulgoa Tanya Davies said that real time information feeding back to the Transport Management Centre identifies incidents as they happen.

“We are resolving incidents 20 per cent faster and relaying live traffic information to motorists through signs and third-party map services before they get stuck in a jam, making trips smoother and faster,” Mrs Davies said.

Transport for NSW is in the planning stages for future smart motorway projects, including the Western Distributor from the ANZAC Bridge to the Warringah Freeway. For more information, see www.roads-waterways.transport.nsw.gov.au

 Caption: Inside the Transport Management Centre.

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