In the first week of the current school year, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has installed ‘smart signs’ to interact with motorists whilst driving in school zones.
The smart signs are capable of detecting and displaying driving speeds, and sending direct friendly messages to the motorists through expressive emoticons. According to a statement released by the RTA, these facial expressions reflect drivers’ psychological mindset, coupled with tips relating to the driving speed as the vehicle passes by the devices and sensors installed near school zones.
Maitha bin Adai, CEO of RTA Traffic and Roads Agency, said, “Phase 1 of the project was tentatively commissioned in five areas in the first week of the school year, including Muhaisnah 1, Al Mazhar, Al Wasl, Al Garhoud and Al Safa.”
“Other areas will be covered in Phase 2 as per engineering standards based on the type of the road, the number of schools therein, and the number of speeding tickets issued in those areas. Areas selected in Phase 1 had previously witnessed over-speeding cases in recent months, and therefore smart speed limit signs displaying 40 kph were installed on streets surrounding school zones. Exceeding the speed limit, even by a small margin, may cause run-over accidents and injuries among students,” she added.
“A smiling face indicates the driver is compliant with the prescribed speed limit while the frowning face means the driver has exceeded the speed limit specified by the RTA out of it keenness to ensure students’ safety and reduce traffic accidents. Then the smart signs display either tribute remarks, alerts or warnings indicating to drivers the speed limit allowed on a given street,” Bin Adai explained.
The underlying idea of these smart signs is based on the findings and recommendations of scientific studies that had proved the success of these signs in inducing the intended impact on drivers as they address and tell each driver individually about their speed and driving behaviour and they are not generic, she elaborated further.
“The smart signs are part of several projects and initiatives targeting students, school zones and surrounding areas, following the Agency’s success over the past six years in eliminating fatal traffic crashes and achieving zero deaths in school zones,” concluded Bin Adai.