Smart Motorways Technologies
Some delays while driving are inevitable, but Smart Motorways technologies work to identify the cause of delays on our motorways, and proactively manage traffic to lessen its impact on the overall network.
Smart Motorways technologies used to inform motorists:
Smart Motorways technologies used to gather data or images:
Lane Use Management Signs
Lane Use Management Signs (LUMS) are electronic motorway signs that motorists may see on an overhead gantry.
The signs can show red crosses, white arrows and speed limits which apply to the lane immediately below each sign.
A solid red cross indicates that a lane is currently closed. You must not travel in a lane when a solid red cross is displayed overhead. Lanes can be closed for a number of reasons including during roadworks or after traffic incidents. Closing lanes after an incident or during roadworks helps to:
- improve safety by reducing the risk of further incidents
- give faster access for emergency or service vehicles.
A flashing red cross indicates the lane is being closed to traffic. It can also mean the lane is closed to traffic up ahead. For your safety, if a red cross is flashing above the lane you are travelling in, you should exit the lane as quickly and safely as possible.
A white arrow indicates you can enter that lane to exit the motorway.
There's a new way of changing speed limits and closing lanes on Queensland's busiest motorways.
New electronic signs will change speed limits to smooth traffic flow and improve safety.
These signs will also open and close traffic lanes.
They are called variable speed limit and lane control signs.
Lanes are open when the speed limit overhead
Most of the time the speed limit will be the
normal speed but at times the speed limit will
be reduced because of accidents, bad weather
or the onset of congestion.
Variable message signs will tell you about
the road conditions ahead to explain why the
speed has been reduced.
When a crash happens on the motorway, the
speed limit needs to be reduced and one or
more lanes closed.
A flashing red cross will warn drivers to
leave the cross marked lane
as soon as it’s safe to do so.
When the red cross stops flashing, the lane
As you get closer to the crash, the speed
limit may be reduced again.
Notice the left hand lane is still closed.
Another lane also needs to be closed and this
can be done immediately
from a traffic management centre.
Reducing the speed limit and closing lanes
makes it safer for you, for crash victims
and emergency services personnel.
After you have passed the crash, the speed
limits are increased and all lanes are opened.
In summary, speed limits are show above each
A flashing red cross shows that the lane is
in the process of closing.
Drivers must exit the lane as soon as it is
safe to do so.
A red cross shows that the lane is closed.
Drivers must not travel in lanes under a solid red cross.
Remember, speed limits and lane control signs are enforced and compliance benefits all motorway users.
Ramp signals are the traffic lights you may see at a motorway on-ramp.
They are typically used during periods of high-demand where motorists may be stopped momentarily at a red light before entering the motorway.
Spacing out the entry of vehicles onto a motorway in busy periods, creates safer, smoother merging for motorists and helps reduce congestion at merge points.
In south east Queensland, motorways are the
preferred route for many drivers.
As the number of commuters trying to enter
our motorways continues to increase, so too
does the risk of congestion.
This results in slow moving, stop start driving
Getting onto the motorway can often be a challenge
in itself as congestion is most often worse
where motorists try to merge onto the motorway.
This often results in incidents, near misses
and frustration on the road network.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads
is introducing a suite of smart technologies
to optimise performance on our motorways and
Ramp signalling is one of these technologies.
The signals are designed to manage the rate
at which vehicles enter the motorway.
This will assist in reducing traffic jams
at key merging points and keep traffic flowing.
Motorists will benefit from safer merging
There will be fewer incidents and more predictable
travel times during peak hour traffic.
As you approach the on ramp, keep an eye out
for flashing yellow traffic signs warning
you that the on ramp traffic lights are in
operation and that you should prepare to stop.
As you proceed onto the motorway on ramp you
will notice a pair of traffic lights at the
entrance to the motorway.
If the traffic light is red, you will need
to come to a complete stop and wait a few
seconds for the traffic lights to turn green
Road signs are placed overhead to remind you
that only one car per lane is permitted to
proceed on each green light.
When it’s your turn proceed along the on
ramp and safely merge into the motorway.
Although onramp traffic lights are only activated
during times of heavy traffic such as week
day peak hours, they may also be activated
in the case of a traffic incident or a special
event which may impact on regular motorway
To minimise on ramp queues from building up,
queue detectors have been embedded in the
road surface to ensure that commuters do not
experience unnecessary delays.
Although you may not immediately see changed
conditions on the motorway it’s important
to remember that this smart application is
designed to provide benefits to the entire
So while it may take you a little longer to
merge into the motorway at some ramps, you
will experience less stop start travel once
you are on the motorway.
This will result in a more predictable, smoother
journey for all motorists.
Although ramp signalling has been around for
decades, new smart technology means that on
ramp traffic lights respond automatically
to traffic conditions as opposed to the pre-programmed
approach of the past.
The on ramp traffic lights use smart technology
to communicate with traffic detectors embedded
into the road’s surface.
The sensors detect the speed and volume of
traffic flow, then communicate with on ramp
traffic lights across the motorway to maximise
Before traffic congestion can build up, the
on ramp traffic lights communicate with each
other and moderate signal timings across the
motorway network to reduce delays and encourage
traffic flow to continue.
For example an on ramp experiencing large
volumes of traffic will communicate with other
nearby on ramps across the motorway network
requesting that they change the timing of
their signals to reduce the flow of traffic
onto the motorway.
This will allow the busy on ramp to increase
its flow onto the motorway.
Once it starts to clear, the nearby on ramp
traffic lights will automatically readjust
to their original settings.
Over the next decade, the Department of Transport
and Main Roads will roll out a suite of intelligent
transport solution across south east Queensland’s
Under this initiative, smart transport technologies
will be used to proactively manage motorway
operations in real time.
So you can expect more predictable travel
times, less stop start travel, improved safety
and decreased carbon emissions on our motorways.
Variable Speed Limit Signs
Variable Speed Limit (VSL) signs are the electronic speed limit signs that you may see along the side of a motorway.
These signs can help improve safety, reduce stop-start travel and avoid further accidents by slowing a motorist’s approach to a hazard such as:
- heavy traffic
- earlier incidents
- poor visibility
- slippery road conditions.
When the red circle is flashing, it indicates that the speed limit has changed from the normal speed for that section of the motorway. Motorists must adhere to the displayed speed limit regardless of whether the red circle is flashing or not.
Changing speed limits to suit weather conditions
There’s a new way of changing speed limits on Queensland’s busiest motorways.
New electronic signs will change speed limits to smooth traffic flow and improve safety.
The signs will also open and close traffic
They are called variable speed limit signs.
As you enter the motorway signs will show you the speed limit.
This speed limit is 100 kilometers per hour.
If the electronic sign is blank, then the
bottom fixed sign sets the motorway’s speed.
Most of the time, the speed limit will be
this normal speed limit.
During bad weather, the speed limit may be reduced to make driving safer.
The flashing red circle tells the driver that
the speed limit has reduced.
Smoothly adjust your vehicle’s speed to
comply with the new speed limit.
Variable message signs will inform drivers of the road conditions ahead.
As the conditions get worse, heavier rain
and poor visibility, the speed limit may be
Speed limits are shown above each lane.
Speed limits may change at any time.
But you will have enough time to adjust to
the new speed limit.
When speed limits change, the red circle will flash.
You should smoothly adjust to the new speed limit.
The variable speed limit signs will continue flashing until the motorway’s normal
speed limit is resumed.
Remember, you always have the responsibility
to drive safely according to the road and
Variable Message Signs
Variable Message Signs (VMS) are electronic signs you may see on the roadside or in the overhead gantry when travelling on a motorway.
VMS provide critical information to motorists so they can be more informed about their journey.
They can provide warnings, alerts and information about changing road conditions as well as expected travel time advice.
Closed Circuit Television
Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras provide imagery to the Traffic Management Centres, who use it to help detect and monitor motorway incidents, breakdowns and congestion.
CCTV images can assist Traffic Management Centres to more effectively analyse traffic conditions, confirm incidents and monitor recovery and emergency services responses.
Where a vehicle has broken down, CCTV is used to confirm the location of the road user in distress and establish what further action may be required.
Road weather monitoring stations
Road weather monitoring stations collect weather data such as wind speed, rain intensity, visibility and road surface conditions to help determine road conditions.
Data collected from road weather monitoring stations informs Traffic Management Centres, who use it to determine if proactive measures should be taken to keep motorists safe and moving on the motorway during inclement weather.
Vehicle detectors are sensors that can be embedded in the road surface or mounted on poles next to the motorway that collect information about the vehicles using the road. Vehicle detectors embedded in the road surface may not be visible to motorists.
They measure real-time volume, speed and the type of traffic (such as cars and trucks) travelling along the motorway.
Data collected from vehicle detectors inform the Traffic Management Centres who use it to manage the road and take proactive measures where needed to keep motorists safe and moving on the motorway. For example, vehicle detectors can be used to detect hazards, which can inform the need to change the speed limit as shown on Variable Speed Limit signs.
indicates required fields
Help us improve the content on our website or tell us what is working well. Contact us if you need a response.