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An Australian road safety manufacturing company, Impact absorption systems (IAS), is working with the University of South Australia STEM to minimize the risk of collisions between vehicle occupants and traffic light poles by using an energy absorbing traffic light design, or EATL.

The project receives $ 100,000 from the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center (IMCRC) activation program and the IAS provides $ 100,000. The project represents a total research effort of $ 640,000.

According to Dr Mohammad Uddin from the University of South Australia, traffic light collisions in Australia cost $ 18.5 million per year in fatalities, up to $ 16 million per year in repairs and $ 53.7 million in dollars for injuries.

Over the next 12 months, IAS and UniSA STEM will operate from IAS Energy Absorbing Bollards (EABs) to match the shape, size, length and location of standard traffic lights.

In VAEs, the lower section of the bollard rests inside a cone-shaped cavity in the concrete foundation. The diameter of the cavity is the same as that of the terminal at the bottom and wider at the top. This creates a space between the bollard and the concrete.

Inside this space is a polyurethane foam cartridge that surrounds the cylindrical terminal to keep it upright.

When a car hits the bollard, the cartridge absorbs the impact and the bollard tilts without breaking. Ideally, this allows for a less extreme impact on the car and a lower chance of damaging the terminal.

Smart sensors will be integrated into the final design of the traffic lights. These sensors will keep track of EATL performance and allow local authorities to perform preventive maintenance.

The hope is that the EATL will be ready for use by 2023.

Image Credit: Thomas Industry Update

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