'Smart signs' debut on Maine roads

| Monday, March 21, 2005

Truckers can get a glimpse of the next wave in highway sign technology on some highways in Maine.

The Portland Press reported that the signs cannot only detect that a vehicle is approaching, but also how fast it is traveling and other information, such as the vehicle’s height.

When the signs are triggered, they flash a warning, the newspaper reported. Officials theorize that a sign that flashes only when a vehicle is approaching a hazard is more effective than one that flashes all the time.

Some of the so-called “smart signs” warn vehicles of blind intersections. Others alert drivers when an oversize load is about to move onto a bridge.

In some cases, The Press reported, use of the signs has helped local governments in the state avoid expensive road and intersection restructuring projects on unsafe intersections. Instead, those governments were able to spend a few thousand on a sign to improve safety at the intersections.