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Overhead electronic signs

Overhead electronic speed signs are part of the Lane Use Management System used by staff to reduce speeds. This reduces potential congestion events and opens and closes lanes to keep everyone safe on our Smart Freeway.

The overhead electronic signs are used to communicate travel conditions to road users in real time.

Our operators monitor traffic densities and speeds from the Road Network Operations Centre, using in-road sensors and other technologies. If congestion is building, they use the overhead electronic signs to drop speeds on the freeway, slowing vehicles down to allow the traffic ahead to clear, preventing stop-start conditions.

The overhead signs are also used to close lanes when needed, directing traffic into adjoining lanes if there are incidents ahead on the Smart Freeway.

These systems reduce congestion, improve travel times and enhance safety.

 

 

FAQ

When and why will the speed limits on the Smart Freeway be changed?

The overhead electronic signs mostly display normal speed limits relevant to that section of the Smart Freeway. However they can be changed by our operators in response to traffic build-ups or any incidents on the freeway, slowing vehicles down to allow the traffic ahead to clear.

By managing the flow of traffic on the Smart Freeway, we can reduce the impact of incidents and shorten the time taken to clear stop/start traffic conditions.

What do the electronic signs above the Kwinana Freeway do?

These overhead electronic speed signs are controlled by the Road Network Operations Centre, which monitors traffic numbers and speeds on our Smart Freeway using a range of technologies such as sensors, radars and CCTV.

When there’s an incident causing congestion to build up, our operators can reduce speeds on the freeway. Slowing vehicles down allows the traffic ahead to clear, preventing stop-start conditions, and reducing rear-end crashes.

The overhead electronic signs are also used to close lanes and direct traffic into adjoining lanes when there’s an incident or debris ahead on the Smart Freeway.

These systems are used to improve travel times and enhance safety.

How quickly do the electronic signs change if there is an incident?

The signs change quickly, generally in less than a minute. This happens as soon as the operators monitoring the freeway confirm the exact location, ensuring the right information is uploaded onto the correct screens.

Will lanes have different speed limits?

No, the overhead speed limits will always be consistent across all open lanes. However a lane or lanes may be closed using a red ‘X’, indicating you cannot drive in it, or may display a ‘White Arrow’, indicating that the lane up ahead is closed, meaning drivers should move out of the lane or lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.

Electronic message boards

Electronic Message Boards are located on most of the overhead electronic signs on the Smart Freeway and are used to display information about conditions ahead, including incidents and travel information.

Large electronic message boards are located on the left of many of the overhead electronic signs north of the Mt Henry Bridge through to the Narrows.

These generally remain blank until our operators need to notify drivers of changed freeway conditions ahead or provide other information relevant to your journey.

When this occurs, messages will be displayed to tell drivers what’s happening ahead, how to safely negotiate any incidents, possible alternate routes or any delays they may be facing.

When these electronic message boards are used, please pay attention, as the advice presented could be important to your journey.

 

 

FAQ

What are the electronic message boards used for and what types of messages go on them?

The electronic message boards display messages that inform drivers of the road conditions ahead – eg upcoming lane closures, speed reductions, potential delays and imminent road detours or closures.

Will the electronic message boards contain messages around events or news?

No, the message boards are used to display messages relevant to drivers using Kwinana Freeway.

We want drivers to understand that any messages displayed on the boards are important to their journey and should be read and followed.

The ‘Red X’ above a lane or lanes

The overhead electronic lane signs can be changed in response to crashes, breakdowns or debris on the freeway. When that happens, our operators use the ‘Red X’ to alert drivers that the lane or lanes are closed.

To protect road users, emergency responders and maintenance workers, the overhead electronic lane signs alert drivers that the lane has been closed. This may be due to a potential incident ahead, such as a crash, breakdown or debris on the freeway.

If a lane is closed, drivers will see a ‘Red X’ on the sign above that lane. This means you must not enter that lane. If you’re already in that lane, you must leave it as soon as you can safely do so.

The ‘Red X’ is used to protect an incident site or to free a lane of traffic and help emergency services get through.

 

 

FAQ

Will drivers be fined for driving in a lane displaying a ‘Red X’?

Lanes are closed and marked with a ‘Red X’ for safety reasons, so it’s important not to enter or stay in a ‘Red X’ lane.

Drivers ignoring the regulated signs may be subject to prosecution and/or infringement, just as they would be on any other part of the road network.

Will the ‘Red X’ increase congestion?

The ‘Red X’ is used to ensure safety on the freeway, particularly when there is already an interruption to the traffic flow due to an incident, crash or debris ahead.

The ‘Red X’ is not used in isolation; speed limits are also reduced and preceding overhead electronic signs direct traffic out of the closed lane.

Managing traffic in this way means that congestion dissipates quicker.

Will lanes have different speed limits?

No, the overhead speed limits will always be consistent across all open lanes. However a lane or lanes may be closed using a red ‘X’, indicating you cannot drive in it, or may display a ‘White Arrow’, indicating that the lane up ahead is closed, meaning drivers should move out of the lane or lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.

Co-ordinated ramp signals

There are ramp signals on some of the Smart Freeway on-ramps that work like traffic lights, only faster, allowing one vehicle per lane to join the freeway at a time. They reduce congestion and make merging easier and safer, giving drivers time to get up to freeway speeds before merging.

To reduce congestion and make merging easier, traffic signals have been installed on five northbound on-ramps along Kwinana Freeway, at Farrington Road, South Street, Leach Highway and Cranford Avenue.

These signals work the same as normal traffic lights, only faster, quickly switching between green, yellow and red, allowing one car per lane to join the freeway at a time.

Managing the flow of vehicles onto the freeway makes merging easier and safer. It prevents stop-start conditions building from the merge point and helps keep freeway traffic moving.

 

 

FAQ

What does it mean when the ramp signals are flashing yellow?

The ramp signals are used to prevent congestion on the Smart Freeway -– mainly during peak periods or when there is an incident. They will flash yellow when they switch on and again when they switch off, to let drivers know of the change.

When switching on, the yellow lights flash for 10 seconds followed by four seconds of constant yellow then six seconds of red before switching to the normal green, yellow, red cycle.

When flashing yellow, you may proceed through the lights with caution, just like other traffic signals. If they change to constant yellow before you get to the stop line, stop and wait for the green light signals.

When the ramp signals are switching off, they flash yellow for ten seconds, during which you may proceed with caution.

How do the ramp signals work?

Each northbound on-ramp on the Smart Freeway has vehicle detectors in the road surface that provide data about the number of vehicles entering the ramp, how quickly they’re moving through and how much traffic is already on the freeway.

This information is shared between all ramps, with computers calculating how long vehicles need to be kept at each ramp signal for optimal freeway flow.

How long will I be stopped at the ramp signals?

Each signal could vary depending on the amount of traffic seeking to access the freeway and the traffic conditions on the freeway. However, the ramp signals generally change much quicker than normal traffic lights

The ‘White Arrow’

When a lane is closed ahead (with a ‘Red X’ above that lane), the preceding overhead electronic signs display a ‘White Arrow’ pointing to the lane, or lanes, you need to move to.

Some distance before a ‘Red X’ sign, road users are directed to begin moving out of the closed lane. The electronic speed sign above the closed lane will display a ‘White Arrow’ pointing to the lane, or lanes, road users need to move to.

This advanced warning sign helps drivers merge prior to the lane closure or incident site, ensuring a safe area is available to those at the incident site.

 

 

FAQ

How long before the ‘Red X’ will I see a ‘White Arrow’?

‘White Arrows’ are generally activated at least one overhead electronic sign prior to arriving at a ‘Red X’.

However, if you’re between overhead signs, you may not see the change until the ‘Red X’ appears on the next sign ahead of you. If it does, move out of that lane as quickly as it is safe to do so.

How quickly do I have to change lanes when I see a white arrow above my lane?

You should change lanes as soon as it is safe to do so whenever you see a ‘White Arrow’ above that lane.

Will lanes have different speed limits?

No, the overhead speed limits will always be consistent across all open lanes. However a lane or lanes may be closed using a red ‘X’, indicating you cannot drive in it, or may display a ‘White Arrow’, indicating that the lane up ahead is closed, meaning drivers should move out of the lane or lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.

Emergency stopping bays

Our Smart Freeway has six emergency stopping bays located on average every 630 metres, providing off-freeway refuge in the event of a breakdown.

All six emergency stopping bays are monitored 24/7 by Stopped Vehicle Detection cameras that alert staff in our Road Network Operations Centre as soon as someone pulls into a bay.

Please remember these bays are for emergency use only – for example if a vehicle is no longer able to drive or the driver unable to continue driving before reaching the freeway exit.

If you can’t make it to an emergency bay, stay in your vehicle, keep your seatbelt fastened and put your hazard lights on.

This section of freeway is monitored 24/7 by CCTV and incident detection radars so you will be seen and our operators will close lanes and reduce speeds to keep you safe till help arrives.

We also have a dedicated incident response service on standby 24/7 on the Smart Freeway that can quickly be dispatched to assist.

 

 

FAQ

What do I do once I pull into an emergency stopping bay?

The emergency stopping bays are monitored 24/7 by staff in our Road Network Operations Centre who can respond quickly and send help if needed.

The stopping bays are equipped with an emergency phone you can use to speak directly with our operators about your situation, or call 138 138 if you can’t leave your vehicle.

You must call our operators to receive advice before you can safely exit the bay.

But remember, emergency stopping bays are for emergencies only and should not be used as a pit stop or to make and receive phone calls.

Emergency stopping bays are for emergencies only but what’s considered an emergency?

An emergency is any situation where a vehicle on the Smart Freeway cannot continue driving and is unable to reach the next available exit, which is always the safest option. This situation may occur due to mechanical / electrical issues, a minor crash or the occupant experiencing a medical episode impacting their ability to drive.

Emergency stopping bays must not be used to park and take or make mobile phone calls, take photographs, have a comfort break or any other reason where a driver might choose to pull over and out of traffic on a normal suburban road.

FAQ

What is a Smart Freeway?

Smart Freeways are used successfully around the world to manage congestion, improve safety and get the most out of existing freeway infrastructure.

Using Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS), traffic conditions can be monitored and adjusted to reduce congestion by changing speed limits when needed, using ramp signals to make merging easier and opening and closing lanes in the event of an incident.

Why has the emergency stopping lane been removed?

Canning Highway’s northbound on-ramp has been a major contributor to traffic congestion on the Kwinana Freeway. Traditional widening wasn’t possible along this section of freeway due to its location between the railway and the Swan River.

Converting the emergency lane into a full-time traffic lane means vehicles joining the freeway from Canning Highway on-ramp no longer need to merge. This will reduce congestion and keep Perth-bound traffic flowing more smoothly on Kwinana Freeway.

Six emergency stopping bays are available on the Smart Freeway, between Canning Highway and the Narrows, located an average of 630 metres apart. These provide off-freeway refuge in the event of a breakdown.

The stopping bays are monitored 24/7 by the Road Network Operations Centre, with CCTV coverage and Incident Detection Systems alerting operators as soon as someone pulls into a bay.

The overhead electronic signs are used to open and close lanes and to create improved safety zones around stranded motorists unable to reach a bay, with dedicated incident response vehicles available 24/7 to attend and assist.

What happens if I break down?

Our Smart Freeway has six emergency stopping bays located an average of 630 metres apart, providing off-freeway refuge in the event of a breakdown.

The emergency stopping bays are constantly monitored by the Road Network Operations Centre staff, who can respond quickly.

If you can’t make it to an emergency bay, stay in your vehicle, keep your seatbelt fastened and put your hazard lights on.

This section of freeway is monitored 24/7 by CCTV and Incident Detection Systems that alert our operators as soon as someone pulls into a bay or stops in a traffic lane. Our operators then close lanes and reduce speeds to assist in keeping you safe until help arrives.

A dedicated Incident Response Service operates 24/7 on the Smart Freeway, which means we will see you and send help quickly.

What do the electronic signs above the Kwinana Freeway do?

These overhead electronic speed signs are controlled by the Road Network Operations Centre, which monitors traffic numbers and speeds on our Smart Freeway using a range of technologies such as sensors, radars and CCTV.

When there’s an incident causing congestion to build up, our operators can reduce speeds on the freeway. Slowing vehicles down allows the traffic ahead to clear, preventing stop-start conditions, and reducing rear-end crashes.

The overhead electronic signs are also used to close lanes and direct traffic into adjoining lanes when there’s an incident or debris ahead on the Smart Freeway.

These systems are used to improve travel times and enhance safety.

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