NWA installs LED messaging signs in Corporate Area
Electronic displays are part of new US$3-million Urban Traffic Management System
BY SEPTEMBER month end, nine virtual messaging signs (VMS) will become operational in Kingston and St Catherine.
“We purposely positioned these along the roadways to provide motorists with real-time traffic advisories to reduce travel time and increase safety. The VMS will provide drivers with notifications in relation to accidents, unexpected delays, road closures, give speed warnings and outline road conditions in times of inclement weather,” said Dainalyn Swaby, acting communication and customer services manager at the National Works Agency (NWA).
This communication will provide adequate warnings to drivers, so they may choose to reroute and adjust their itineraries to reduce congestion along affected roadways.
The LED matrix displays have been installed at strategic locations, namely Manor Park in Constant Spring, Dunrobin Avenue, Port Royal/Pechon Street, the east and west bound lanes of Mandela Highway in Kingston; Lakes Pen/Ackee Village, Port Henderson Parkway/George Lee Boulevard and Bog Walk at the intersection of A1/Sligoville Road in St Catherine.
The signs on the Mandela Highway and in Bog Walk were deliberately placed to give early warning to motorists of flooding in the Bog Walk Gorge.
At present, the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) operate an early warning system. It monitors the water level in the gorge and remotely alerts the WRA when flood conditions are present.
“ODPEM usually issues a general alert to the public. We will be undergoing further consultation as to how we can integrate the VMS here,” she explained.
Swaby told The Gleaner that the signs are part of a larger Government of Jamaica project called the Urban Traffic Management System (UTMS).
The Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, in collaboration with the NWA, embarked on the project to improve the country’s ability to better manage traffic congestion. The project is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Japan International Cooperation Agency to the tune of over US$3 million.
Swaby said the UTMS includes upgrading Jamaica’s traffic management centre and so far, 29 traffic signal controller cabinets have been upgraded at the busiest intersections. The NWA has also installed 25 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to monitor traffic at busy intersections. Traffic signal back-up systems have also been installed at 52 locations to provide four hours of back-up power in the event of a power outage.
The VMS are expected to enhance the efficiency of the main road network and will be supported by a mobile application through which road users can make reports of accidents and other inconveniences. Swaby explained that once verified, NWA traffic engineers will send out the relevant messaging to the respective signs to alert the travelling public.
The system is currently being tested and road users may see various messages being shown until they become operational.
The NWA will be responsible for maintaining the VMS at all locations.