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.
What Advancements Have Been Made in Traffic Warning Signals?
Traffic warning signals are designed to maximize the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists wherever they meet. This means the flashing beacons must be bright enough to attract drivers’ attention, especially in areas such as school zones, crosswalks, and flooded roads. Over time, technology has decreased the power consumption of LEDs (signals) while not reducing the light intensity. In some cases, the traffic warning signal’s light intensity has increased significantly making dramatic safety improvements in the traffic industry. An example is Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB).
In the past 10 years, more and more traffic warning signals run on solar power (DC). Just a few years ago, a high power consumption LED (signal) was the only beacon available, making solar powered systems high priced and bulky with big batteries. The more energy efficient LEDs gave a huge advantage to solar powered systems. The new and improved beacons also last longer reducing the maintenance. It’s not unusual for today’s LEDs to come with a 5 year warranty or 100,000 hours of operation.
‘Smarter’ traffic warning systems have also had a positive impact on safety. Technology can be easily integrated to automatically detect the presence of a crossing pedestrian or cyclist.
Traffic Warning Systems Have Been Affected by Technology
School Zone Beacons
In the past, school zone flashing beacons were programmed to turn ON/OFF with a simple stand-alone programmable time clock. Recognizing the great need to protect young children on their way to and from school, school crossing systems have also advanced significantly. With increased technology, time clocks have been upgraded. School zone flashing beacons can be programmed remotely from anywhere increasing staff productively and student safety. Should an unscheduled school emergency arise (broken pipe/flood; inclement weather, etc.), the signals can be turned ON instantly reducing traffic speed as the students exit.
The latest crosswalk systems are not only activated by a push button, but can incorporate new technology which senses approaching pedestrians or cyclists. With an advanced warning system added to the pedestrian crosswalk, drivers are warned before the pedestrian or cyclist reaches the crosswalk. These are especially useful in places where a bike trail crosses a roadway, and line-of site is obstructed by a hill or curve in the road. Rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFB) are much more effective than a round beacon with its amplified light intensity. It’s the same lights (only amber) used by police and emergency vehicles (blue & red) at alerting approaching motorists.
ELTEC is a proud manufacturer of school zone and pedestrian crosswalk warning systems, which incorporates the latest industry technology. Safety and satisfaction is our mission. Our traffic products and warning systems are known for their exceptional quality, and are backed by superior technical support and customer satisfaction. Call today to speak with our sales staff at 800-227-1734 or visit our warning system pages for more details!