Motorists in Victoria will be the first in the world to trial an Adaptive Variable Speed Limit system, which adjusts speed limits based on the amount of traffic detected.
The 38-kilometre M80 Western Ring Road services 160,000 drivers every day, linking the northern and western suburbs to other Victorian urban and rural freeways - including the M31 Hume Freeway.
Starting later this year, the fully-automated, algorithm-powered system is expected to help reduce congestion time and maintain movement.
Part of a $300 million upgrade to the M80 from Sunshine Avenue to the Calder Freeway, the new adaptive speed system will send information to drivers via overhead gantries.
This should relieve a major pinch point where traffic has to move from four lanes to two lanes.
Luke Donnellan, minister for roads and road safety, said: “We are applying the world’s best traffic management practices to roads right here in Melbourne”.
“By being smarter about the way we manage traffic, we can get Victorians home sooner so they can spend more time with their family and friends.”
The speed limits are expected to change before traffic becomes heavy, particularly during morning and afternoon peak times.
Without this intervention, the government says traffic will eventually become congested and stop.
VicRoads and the Technical University of Crete collaborated on the project, with the aim of finding new ways to reduce congestion on our roads.
The adoption of the adaptive variable speed limits comes after a manual trial of the system was undertaken on the same stretch of road in 2014.
Data from the new system will be monitored and evaluated, and if successful, we could see the adaptive speed limits rolled out across the state’s freeway network.
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