A transport research laboratory has been launched to help improve road safety in South Africa through technology such as electronic billboards that alert motorists of accidents, fog and problems on the road ahead.

A transport research laboratory has been launched to help improve road safety in South Africa through technology such as electronic billboards that alert motorists of accidents, fog and problems on the road ahead.

reported that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) launched an Intelligent Transport System (ITS) laboratory in Sandton this week. The project is the work of the CSIR’s roads and transport technology division, Transpotech.

CSIR manager Chris Burger said the laboratory was focusing on the use of information technology like computers and communication systems in the transport industry. “These include the (electronic) variable message signs that can warn motorists of accidents on the road ahead, wet roads and fog (low visibility) ahead and where off-ramps are situated. Some systems help to regulate traffic by diverting traffic,” said Burger.

He said motorists could use the information to choose alternative routes. The benefits included reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, reduced emissions and improved safety.

Burger said one of the more complex systems that they were looking at was an electronic vehicle identification system that could help traffic officers identify a vehicle without having to stop it to examine a licence disc. He said vehicles could be fitted with an electronic chip.

He said the CSIR was working with the national and provincial transport departments to see which systems would be suitable for the country.

Original article from Car