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Making roads safer with new technology

By Adewale  Akande

THE largest gathering of road safety and road equipment exhibition tagged International Road Safety and Equipment Exhibition took place in Spain between October 27 and 30, 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 in featured the latest development in traffic sectors which was characterised 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 200  companies from different parts 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.There was display of intelligent transportation communication system,video application for transit and transport,toll-road administration,fare collection system,physical barriers for persons and vehicles. There are new reflective sheeting and printed signs which were specially made in 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 outdoor conditions such as rain, 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 drivers have no excuse but to take along with them.

More than 20 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 roadways 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 synthetic 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 which was made to withstand both very cold or hot weather is also good for vertical surfaces,such as coarse grade, profiled thermo, and rumble strips.This paint have solved the problem of inferior paints.This new product guarantees 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 surprise that African governments 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 per cent occurs in developing countries.

Mr. Akande, an author, writes from Spain.


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