MAKING ROADS SAFER WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY
The largest gathering of road safety and road equipment exhibition tagged International Road Safety and Equipment Exhibition took place in Spain between 27th and 30th of October,2009. This traffic trade fair was organised by IFEMA and was promoted by the Spanish Traffic department and Highway Agency. This year edition which I had opportunity to participate featured new latest development in traffic sectors which was characterized by its commitment to safety and innovative technology in making roads safer for driving.It was a platform for live motorway outdoor, demonstrations, exhibitions and workshops that offered insight into the future of safe and comfortable driving.This colourful event helped in assessing developments and market trend on transportation,traffic and parking exhibitions. Also,this fair represents a significant opportunity to enhance brand and product visibility,promote new and existing products to all participants.It focused on car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication system. It was indeed a big forum and contest of comprehensive new technologies on roads safety and road equipment in a place and in just four days. This international road safety and equipment exhibition fair have been consolidated in recent years as one of the most powerful and effective marketing tools for development and growth of this sector.More than two hundred companies from different part of the world were present.
Meanwhile,this fair featured a lot of new road safety developments like,traffic control and management, the introduction of more classic,brilliant and reflective road signs that can be seen by all motorists from long distance at any time of the day irrespective of any weather conditions.Ther was display of intelligent transportation communication system,video application for transt and transport,toll-road administration,fare collection system,physical barriers for persons and vehicles. There are new reflective sheeting and printed signs which was specially made from Italy.This reflective sheeting range is made of a retro reflective adhesive material covered with a transparent or coloured coating which gives to the product excellent protection against outdoors conditions such as rain,uv rays,hot temperature and so on. There are also new equipment signs for emergency,fire outbrakes and evacuation.
There are new software technologies and security instrument for traffic policemen to enhance their work on road safety and adequate control of delinquents.Also,there are new portable flexible triangle signs that need no excuse for any driver to drive without taken it along. More than twenty companies exhibited ultra guide safety gadgets for bridges,guard rails and work zones.There was also display of Glass Bead System for wet roadways. These glass beads will help in making wet roadway to be brighter with optimal reflectivity and visibility especially in the night.These beads ensure high levels of retro-reflectivity,even in rain or wet conditions.
On the issue of road markings,different companies came with new syntetic paints that give more brightness for dangerous areas or uneven surfaces such as “hot spot” and safety corridor areas,run-off road,narrow road or road without hard-shoulder, and construction areas.This new generation paint was made to withstand both very cold or hot weather are also good for vertical surfaces,such as coarse grade, profiled thermo, and rumble strips.This paint have solve the problem of inferior paints.This new product gives resistance of the binder-effectiveness of the adhesion coating-retroreflection in different weather conditions.
There are also fasteners for railway projects by one of the biggest european supplier of nuts,bolts,springs,washers and high resistance fasteners.We have professional manufactures and distributors of fasteners for all rail fixings,concrete as well as wooden sleepers for metro as well as high speed ballasted and non-ballasted tracks.These fastners are also meant for varoius rail catenary electrification systems as well as fixings for tunnel construction. Radar speed display and roadside metreological equipment exhibitions for all drivers were not left out. This radar speed display automatically advise drivers not to overspeed when the vehicles are passing through.
Moreover,it was a big suprise that African government road safety representatives and private traffic companies were not well represented in this important international trade fair for infrastructure traffic management and safety.They need to be well represented in this event where products and services,including state-of-the-art technological solutions for state and federal road infrastructure are present. Most states and federal roads in Africa are regarded as death traps as they are short of safety infrastructures that needed to reduce traffic accidents. According to FIA Foundation Organisation, “Every six seconds someone is killed or maimed on the world's roads”. The majority of these deaths, about 70 percent occurs in developing countries. The road traffic injury mortality rate in Africa is 28.3 per 100,000 of the population. Hundreds are crippled and injured everyday on roads. Road deaths and injuries are sudden, violent, traumatic experience events that require special attention by everybody.It is the responsibility of every government to embark on roads safety projects and educational programmes that will make its citizens to be safe on all roads and at the same time reducing road traffic accidents. Government and non-governmental agencies in Africa have to collaborate, coordinate and work with all sectors of the economy to reduce the number of crashes, deaths and injuries on roadways.They should increase safety awareness,consciousness, knowledge and skills that will reduce traffic accidents and road safety amongst all types of road users.The government should promote a positive attitude towards enforcement traffic laws and infuse sense of courtesy, concern and responsibility among all road users.
African governments should embark on research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic accidents, prevent them and minimize injuries when they occur. Road and traffic safety education should be in included in schools curriculum.If it cannot be a subject on its own,it can be incorporated in Social Studies sylabus. Participation in such trade fair of international standard will help in assessing new trends and developments on this sector.It also provide their acess to international market products and this will help to build a unique opportunity to identify potential suppliers, subcontractors, representatives, importers and distributors to meet current and future trends on road safety. Hoping that traffic authorities in african will be well represented in March,next year (2010) in Poland where another International Trade Fair for Infrastructure,Traffic Management,Safety and Parking will be taken place.
Adewale T Akande.
Author and Road Traffic Safety Consultant.