Driving Change: How Traffic Safety Technology Is Delivering Safer Roads

May 15, 2024

Cars crossing a busy intersectoin with ITS safety technologies and signals

Traffic, lengthy signals, large intersections, impaired drivers — these hazards and distractions keep making today’s roads more and more risky.

Yet roads are essential for our everyday lives, and there is no escaping them. Fortunately, advanced traffic management systems are making roads safer for everyone.

Continue reading to learn about the main components and impressive benefits of modern traffic safety systems, and how they are delivering safer roads.


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Road Traffic Management and Safety Systems: What Are They?

Transportation Management Center (TMC) view of screens and computers at Bay CountyTransportation management centers serve as a hub for real-time traffic management, giving operators a bird’s eye view of roadways.

Road safety is being greatly improved, thanks to Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS). 

What is ITS? ITS in simple terms can be thought of as “smart” transportation. It forms the backbone of modern road safety systems.

ITS encompasses a large suite of technologies designed to work together, making our roads safer while displaying important information. It increases safety for everyone — drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians alike.  

Road traffic safety systems are composed of a variety of ITS technologies which reduce the risk of accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road. There are many moving parts and pieces in these systems as they use advanced communication, sensing and radar technologies to relay information.  

These all work together to enhance real-time traffic management, reduce travel times, improve incident response and more. 


Examples of Road Safety Technology Advancements

Road safety systems, made possible with ITS, leverage many impressive technologies. Examples include: 

    • Closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras
    • Microwave vehicle detection systems (MVDS)
    • Wi-Fi antenna and Bluetooth devices
    • License plate readers (encrypted)
    • Dynamic Message Signs (DMS)
    • Road weather information systems (RWIS)
    • Connected vehicles (CV)

Collage of CCTV cameras, Wifi and Bluetooth devices at an intersection with ITS technologyLeft image: CCTV cameras provide Traffic Management Centers with real-time video monitoring of roadways. Right image: Bluetooth devices and Wi-Fi antennas at some intersections track travelers’ cellular data to estimate travel time for drivers.

Emerging Technologies: some of the new technologies emerging in ITS are vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication. These technologies have the ability to exchange data with roadside infrastructure and other vehicles, to enhance the mobility or safety of motorists and pedestrians.

Infrastructure to vehicle (I2V) communications notifies drivers in advance of things such as work zones or unprotected left turns. The system could detect a probable red light runner, which then signals the left turn motorist to halt and avoid a collision.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being used with traffic signal operations, and machine learning can adapt signal phasing and timing by learning the common traffic patterns. Autonomous vehicles (AV) are also being introduced with controlled implementations throughout the United States.

AI-powered computer controlled vehicle using ITSAutonomous vehicles with AI computer controls can now operate vehicles, transit and more.

These connected autonomous vehicles and the introduction of AI technologies are continuously being tested at research labs like the Traffic Engineering and Research Laboratory (TERL) in Florida. These labs asses value, and discredit technologies and manufacturers that do not meet specific requirements.

As technology continues to advance, we can expect more innovative solutions which improve the way roads communicate, increasing safety.


AR Wrong Way Detection: Saving Lives

Wrong-way driver sign with flashing red lights ITS technology
These life-saving wrong-way driver systems use lidar sensors to detect any vehicle traveling the wrong way, which then alerts the driver with bright, flashing signs while notifying officials.

Fatalities from wrong-way driving are on the rise. Each year, there are approximately 500 wrong-way driving deaths according to the USDOT Federal Highway Administration.

Halff is combatting these dangers by designing and planning the impressive AR Wrong-Way Traffic Detection (WWTD) system on 157 ramps stretching from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Memphis, Tennessee.  

This $55 million project is one of the largest wrong-way driving system projects in the U.S., which will help alert and identify drivers traveling the wrong way on interstate ramps. This life-saving system flashes warning signs to the driver while notifying authorities and traffic management center (TMC) staff.

Map of AR Wrong Way Detection project from Arkansas to Tennessee
The Arkansas Wrong-Way Traffic Detection project is currently underway, installing 157 wrong-way signs and alert systems to 7 corridors spanning from Little Rock, AR, to Memphis, TN.

The ITS improvements on the AR WWTD project will play a major role in delivering safer and smarter roads throughout Arkansas and Tennessee. The design was completed in March 2023  and installation of these systems is in progress. Halff’s ITS team in Tallahassee is leading this extensive project that will help save lives and prevent head-on collisions from wrong-way driving incidents. 


Proactive Measures in ITS

Halff is dedicated to implementing proactive ITS measures that improve road safety.

Our goal is to offer the complete systems you need — from fiber optic networks to traffic management systems, connected vehicles and more. We work to discover and use the latest technology to make our roads safer for communities while delivering the best possible results for our clients. 

Halff has trusted teams to deliver holistic ITS systems. We offer expertise in: 

    • Fiber optic networks
    • Broadband
    • Connected vehicles (CV)
    • Artificial intelligence (AI)
    • Traffic Management systems
    • Transportation management center design

Have an ITS project need? Our ITS professionals bring more than 30 years of industry expertise — we have designed custom solutions for cities, counties, FDOT and TXDOT.

Contact Transportation Deputy Practice Leader Tracy Forester (tForester@halff.com), ITS Team Leader Matt Thibault (mThibault@halff.com) or Transportation Team Leader Alex Reyna (aReyna@halff.com) to get started today. 

Contact Halff's Tracy Forester, Matthew Thibault or Alex Reyna ITS professionals