Technology on trial for intersection safety
Technology on trial for intersection safety

With most bike crashes occurring at intersections, along with a third of all traffic fatalities, road safety authorities are exploring whether advanced technologies can help reduce the risk.

A lengthy trial in Yarraville has been using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) sensors—a radar-like technology that is usually found in autonomous vehicles.

But this time the sensors were mounted on roadside poles to detect the movement of road users including pedestrians, cyclists, cars and trucks to identify potential hazards.

The intersection site was the corner of Sommerville and Williamstown Road—two very busy truck routes that also has a bike route on Sommerville Street. Not a happy mix.

The $2 million trial found the new technology can accurately and reliably detect potential hazards within 0.2 seconds and has the potential to provide real-time warnings to alert road users of hazards.

And when crashes and near-misses occur, make available highly detailed information for analysis to help prevent future crashes.

The project used a bundle of technologies from a research consortium called Omni-Aware. It uses multiple LiDAR sensors to build continuous spatial awareness of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses and trucks at a road location.

Road Safety Victoria, Victorian Department of Transport, and there TAC were involved. The project was funded by a Victorian Government grant.

This is the first extended trial using LiDAR technology to collect road data in Australia. The latest data shows 23% of deaths and 34% of serious injuries occur at intersections and the results of this trial will allow Road Safety Victoria to closely analyse the highly detailed information to help improve safety at intersections throughout Melbourne’s suburbs.

This is in addition to the 'don't block the box' trial which began last week with six busy intersections in Melbourne painted yellow to reduce the number of cars blocking intersections which can create congestion and puts other motorists in danger.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll said: “We all have a role to play to keep all Victorians safe on the road – and for Government, we’ll continue to trial the latest technology to drive down road trauma and save lives.”

“Road Safety Victoria will now take this data away – and continue to work with local communities to keep traffic moving safely through intersections as Victorians get to where they need to go.”

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.