All posts by April Spears

Keep Your School Zone Beacons On Time with an IP Time Clock

Some sections of a road, street, or highway are more dangerous than others requiring extra safety measures especially when students are present. Sometimes you need an extra attention grabber instead of only a MPH sign to get a response from complacent motorists. That’s where ELTEC comes into the picture. For almost 50 years, our wide selection of programmable time clocks offers cities and/or DOTs (Department of Transportation) a variety of options; from stand-alone time switches to remote monitoring and management of all school zone signals. We design and manufacture several programmable time clock models that control the school zone beacon systems including an IP time clock. ELTEC has a host of SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) products.

Once installed, the school zone flashing beacons don’t just run on their own. One of our most efficient time clocks to program is the IP time clock. With an IP time clock, you program the signal’s annual school schedule remotely to turn ON and OFF at pre-determined times, so that the beacon is flashing when students are going to class and leaving school for the day. ELTEC’s IP time clock, called the SYSTEM 3000, is extremely flexible. That is, communication to the office computer can be WiFi, internet, Ethernet, intranet, cell modem or a combination of all of them. The software makes the different connections transparent—it all looks the same on the computer screen.

The benefit to using an IP time clock in conjunction with school zone warning lights is that the timing is managed remotely from your computer. This allows signal technicians to change the timing of the flashing beacons remotely whenever needed: emergencies such as inclement weather moving in, a delayed school day opening, plumbing issue, or any other unplanned event.

You may be able to add time clocks to already functioning school zone warning system. IP time clocks are easy to install (plug & play) and generally can be retrofitted to any traffic manufacturer’s warning system.

Call us to get more information about how our systems can solve your traffic problems! 800-227-1734. You can also locate our local ‘boots on the ground’ Dealer on our website: http://elteccorp.com/dealers-usa/.

Flood Detection-Sirens Alert Residents (IMSA May-June ’17)

ELTEC’s Flood Detection with Sirens Warns Residents

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When a flash flood hits the West Bayou Oak subdivision in Houston, residents have only minutes to remove their vehicles from the parking area. In the past 10 years, the townhomes have had several vehicles totaled or severely damaged plus numerous repairs. In South Texas and Louisiana, spring ’16 had severe flooding. Curtiss Beinhorn, a resident, reports that “approximately 70 cars were totaled in the April 18, 2016 flood. “Insurance claims and rates are out the roof.” Turkey Creek is a tributary that comes off some major rivers. Houston’s weather pattern ‘sandwiches’ the area from two directions: San Antonio Hill Country (north) and from the gulf (south). Flooding has always occurred at night; residents only have minutes to move their cars. Curtiss decided to explore various flood systems. Working with ELTEC, it was determined that a pressure sensor (creek debris could wash it away) or cell modem (overkill) was not the best solution. “We needed a real time alarm system in the form of a siren.” The two pole system is solar powered: sensor unit with power accessories and sirens, wired to a second pole on higher ground containing a toggle switch inside a secured cabinet allowing a resident to disable the sirens. ELTEC’s unique water sensor (immune to trash and debris) is mounted on a pole placed at the lower end of the parking area. The creek’s rising waters triggers the sirens alerting residents 24/7. The sirens are ON for 10 seconds, OFF for 10 seconds, until someone flips the toggle switch to turn OFF. Every ELTEC flood detection system is customized. Between customer service and product technology, the residence now have an effective flood warning system. Contact ELTEC to work with you on a flood system quote.

Highly visible Traffic Warning Signals for safe pedestrian crossings

If you’re responsible for ensuring crosswalks, school crossings and residential streets are safe for your city, you understand what makes midblock crossings dangerous. Traditional warning signals do not offer enough protection for individuals crossing the street. These areas deserve special attention and additional warning systems to help prevent accidents. ELTEC also understands this danger. We’ve made it our business to keep people safe.
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Pedestrian Hybrid Beacons – Solving Pedestrian-Traffic Interactions

Small towns have less vehicles, which generally means fewer traffic incidents compared to big cities. Yet these towns still have bodily injury accidents especially to pedestrians. Crossing the street can be even more dangerous in some areas because of fewer street lights. In fact, our local fire department’s ambulances are frequently called for ‘hit and run’ incidences. Neighborhoods with kids bicycling, families walking to and from parks, runners out for night exercise, all increase the likelihood of a pedestrian accident especially if they need to cross the street without the aid of a pedestrian crosswalk supported by flashing beacons. What’s worse is pedestrians in small towns can be more casual, less cautious.
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Traffic Warning Signals Provides Driver Safety in a Variety of Situations

We’ve all noticed that streets are busier now with more motorist than they were when growing up. There is no doubt about it – the conditions of today’s traffic situations demand that each driver be alert and focused on driving safely without added distractions. In 2012, over 90,000 crashes involved driver distraction including cell phone use. Motorists have to watch out for a larger number of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists not to mention construction zones or other hazardous conditions. Today, traffic warning signals with added technology alerts drivers to potentially dangerous situations and notifies them of what lies ahead. Continue reading

Improve Safety with School Zone Beacons

The importance of slower speeds when students are arriving or leaving school is key to their safety. At 10MPH a person has a 90% chance of survival. At 40 MPH the survival rate declines to 20%. Even though driver’s are required to learn the ‘rules of the road’, motorists continue to ignore or not notice the activated school zone flashing beacons alerting them to adhere to the posted, lower speed limit. The reason traffic warning systems from ELTEC exist is because certain high-risk areas or situations like school zones increase motorist compliance with added yellow flashing beacons to gain the driver’s attention to lower their speed. During certain times of the day, drivers need to be on the lookout for children crossing streets or school buses entering the roadway. At all times 10% of all motorists are using their cell phones; nearly 1 in 4 crashes involves driver distraction. One unfortunate circumstance leading to complications in school zones is that many schools end their session during peak traffic hours; more motorists equates to a higher probability of accidents/harm.
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Why Choose Solar Power Warning Lights for Highways?

Today, municipalities and DOTs (Department of Transportation) have several options when it comes to traffic warning systems. With growing populations and rising numbers of vehicles on the roads, the potential for more traffic hazards increases. Maybe it’s a school or pedestrian crosswalk, or you want to warn drivers of a specific road condition. All traffic warning signals require a power source. You can choose AC power from the grid, but you may want to consider solar power warning lights and the many benefits it offers.
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“TIGERS” Made Safer with HAWK Crosswalk

Frenship High School in Wolfforth, TX installed a solar powered HAWK/hybrid pedestrian crosswalk. Early one morning before dawn a student using the un-signalized crosswalk from the parking lot across from the school was struck and killed by a truck. The school principle, city manager, and other city officials along with the local TxDOT district worked together to find a solution.

Since the pedestrian crossing is on a 5-lane (including a turn lane) state road (45 MPH), TxDOT determined a Hybrid Pedestrian Crosswalk to control traffic was the best solution, and was responsible for the installation. After weighing several factors, solar power was determined to be the best option to operate the system using a DC controller (Mikros EIC). The cost was considerably less by not using the electrical service or running traffic signal cable, and other combined factors saved approximately 2–3 weeks of construction time. The solar sizing report determined that two hybrid beacons faces (6 LEDs total) plus a pedestrian head and the DC controller with a built-in conflict monitor would be fully supported with one 140-watt solar panel and two 110 amp-hour batteries.

Wolfforth officials implemented a community educational campaign using local media outlets that a new crosswalk had been added and to inform motorists how to interpret the signals. Additionally, the principal initiated training with the students: teaching them how the system worked and how to use it correctly. During designated school periods and high traffic times, a Resource Officer is assigned to monitor the students to safeguard that they aren’t “trying to beat the pedestrian countdown timer.” The Resource Officer also ensures drivers are obeying the signals as well.

The public response has been “great.” There’s an understanding that vehicles and pedestrians both share the highway, and that pedestrians have the right-of-way when the lights are activated. The school principle adds “the students certainly appreciate the added safety feature, and have been trained very well to activate the system and wait. Sometimes teenagers are looked at as not listening, but when it comes to safety they are taking the proper steps.”