Operational questions and answers
Q. What is Smarter Motorways?
A. Smarter Motorways is the use of integrated intelligent transport system technologies to improve traffic flow, manage congestion, enhance safety and reduce emissions on south-east Queensland's motorways.
Q. What are integrated intelligent transport systems?
A. These systems are based on electronic devices that collect data and communicate with each other. They respond in real time to improve motorway performance and safety by changing electronic speed signs, closing lanes and flashing alerts on electronic message signs.
Q. How do these systems work?
A. Devices that monitor changing traffic and weather conditions (including closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras, weather monitors and vehicle detectors) constantly feed information into the system. Traffic Management Centre officers will be alerted and can quickly adjust speed limits, close lanes and broadcast warning messages to drivers using electronic message signs in order to reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing.
Q. What are the key benefits of Smarter Motorways technologies?
A. The key benefits are:
- reduced congestion and less stop-start travel
- improved journey time reliability
- increased capacity
- reduced incidents
- reduced emissions
- improved fuel efficiency.
Q. What are the technologies?
- Variable speed limit signs which indicate changes in the motorway speed limit.
- Lane controls which indicate temporary lane closures or when to exit the motorway.
- Electronic message signs which provide warnings and information to drivers.
- Upgraded ramp signal lights to the more familiar red/amber/green lights for safer merging.
Q. Why would the speed be reduced on the electric speed limit signs on a motorway?
A. Speed limits will be reduced in the event of a traffic incident, roadworks, bad weather or congestion in the network. The temporary reduced speed limits will make driving safer by delaying the possible onset of stop/start driving.
Q. What does a speed limit sign with a flashing red circle around it indicate?
A. It indicates the speed limit has recently changed and that drivers must comply with the new speed.
Q. What should drivers do when the speed limit has changed from the usual (posted) motorway speed?
A. Drivers should smoothly adjust their vehicle speed to comply with the new speed limit and take note of the next electronic speed limit sign to check for any additional changes to driving conditions.
Q. Once the speed limit has changed, will the red circle around the new speed limit continue to flash?
A. Yes, the red circle around the new speed limit will flash until the speed is changed back to the motorway’s default speed limit.
Q. Why would a motorway lane be temporarily closed?
A. It may be closed due to an accident or roadworks up ahead or because emergency services vehicles need to use the lane.
Q. What does a flashing red cross above a motorway lane indicate?
A. It indicates the lane is in the process of closing and drivers must leave the lane as soon as it is safe to do so.
Q. What does a solid red cross above a motorway lane indicate?
A. The lane is closed and drivers must not travel in this lane.
Q. What are electronic message signs along a motorway used for?
A. Electronic message signs can give drivers information about changed conditions ahead, alerts, warnings and journey information
Q. If an electronic speed limit sign is blank, what should a motorist do?
A. A motorist should comply with the electronic speed limit when turned on, otherwise follow the posted speed limit. The electronic speed limit sign is an extension of the posted speed limits and can be blank if no speed limit changes are required.
Q. What are the benefits of changing speed limits and closing lanes on a motorway?
A. The benefits include improved traffic flows while assisting emergency services to reach incident sites faster. It improves safety for all road users.
Q. Are these ramp signal traffic lights on all the time?
A. No. Like the existing signals, these upgraded lights will only be activated when there is a congestion and traffic flow issues. During this time, there will be warning signs to alert drivers.
Q. Which on-ramps onto the Pacific Motorway are being updated?
A. The six existing locations on the Pacific Motorway between Greenslopes and Underwood being upgraded in March 2011 are:
- Sports Drive – northbound on-ramp at Underwood
- Logan Road – northbound on-ramp at Eight Mile Plains
- Mains Road – northbound on-ramp at Mount Gravatt
- Birdwood Road – northbound on-ramp at Holland Park
- Duke Street – northbound on-ramp at Greenslopes
- Marquis Street – southbound on-ramp at Greenslopes.
Q. Do drivers need to comply with the new signs and signals?
A. Yes, these signs are enforceable and compliance benefits all motorway users. To learn how drivers should respond to the new signs and signals, watch the Smarter Motorways videos on the videos and quiz page. As well as responding correctly to signs and signals, motorists are still required to drive with due care and attention to prevailing conditions.
Q. How will the environment benefit?
A. By keeping traffic flowing and reducing stop-start driving, vehicles should consume less fuel and therefore produce less emissions. This benefit is part of the Queensland Government’s climate change strategy ClimateQ: toward a greener Queensland. Smarter Motorways is involved in the Improved traffic flow for reduced emissions initiative to cut traffic congestion and carbon emissions.
Q. How can I find out more information?
A. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 3137 8282 and ask about Smarter Motorways.