World's first e-ink traffic signs installed

The Australian city of Sydney is the first in the world to install e-ink traffic signs. Slovenian digital signage company Visionect has worked with the New South Wales' Road and Maritime Services (RMS) agency to install digital signage around the city to improve daily transit and simplify road sign deployment. The displays will also significantly help cut the costs of changing road signs to reflect upcoming events.

The e-ink displays look much the screen on an Amazon Kindle device, and have the advantage of being easy to read in bright sunlight. The devices are also powered via solar panels, so are self-contained and low-cost to run.

Messages to the screen can be updated remotely via smartphone or PC, and opens up traffic management to the Internet of Things (IOT) world.

Rok Zalar, Visionect’s head of product development, explains how it works: "The hardware components are managed by server software programmed to 'wake up' the sign for certain pre-scheduled windows of time when the content on the sign will be changed using 3G technology. Outside of the ‘waking’ time, the traffic signs use no power."

In addition to saving energy, the fully customisable e-traffic signs help cities save on temporary road sign placement as well. It has been reported, for example, that the city Los Angeles puts up 558,000 temporary parking restrictions signs every year at a cost of $9.5 million.

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