The Big Drive launches smart work zone system

Sensors, cameras warn drivers on digital message boards

Local 6 News at 5:30p

ORLANDO, Fla. – As Work Zone Safety Week wraps up in Central Florida, some new technology, the Smart Work Zone, aims to help keep drivers and workers safe while navigating along the Big Drive.

The Big Drive is the first project in the state to use the new safety system. It consists of five sensors, three message boards and one camera working together to monitor traffic speeds and patterns.

The system will provide drivers an advance warning about conditions ahead. Using the message boards with a series of preset warnings and advisories will be useful in changes in accident prone construction zones, officials said.

“This is something that is geared just toward work zones. The units are portable. You can move them around. So as your work zone changes, you can move these to accommodate if you find another area that becomes a trouble spot,” said Dave Feise, project manager for SGL Constuctors.

The system is currently set up along eastbound Interstate 4 by the state road 408 interchange. Using the new system has the potential of reducing rear-end crashes by up to 45 percent, officials say.

The Smart Work Zone system also protects workers by allowing some work to go mobile.

Feise was able to see traffic downtown and the program reported vehicles were moving at close to 25 miles per hour. “We’re tied in here on desktop and also on cellphones with Web-based apps, and we can monitor these devices basically from anywhere,” Feise said.

There are a lot of benefits to the new system, experts say.  The bottom line is that people get the information they need faster and without someone else standing in harm’s way.