Western Australia sanctions A$4.2bn for road infrastructure maintenance

The state government of Western Australia (WA) allocated around A$4.2bn in its budget for various road infrastructure and maintenance initiatives.

The 2019-2020 state budget builds on the 2017 Boosting Jobs, Busting Congestion programme. It will focus on improving 25 major road projects in the state.

From the total amount, almost $2bn was set aside for regional roads. Overall, the road maintenance project is expected to reduce traffic congestion, improve safety and create thousands of jobs.

Brexit uncertainty blamed for 45% fall in UK car manufacturing

UK car production nearly halved in April as manufacturers reduced operations at factories to prepare for Brexit, according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

SMMT showed that the UK car production in April plummeted 44.5% to 70,971 units compared to 127,970 produced in the same period 12 months previously.

The April slump is the 11th straight monthly decline in car production. The drop was 15% in February and 13% in March.

Canada prepares to open $3.12bn Samuel de Champlain Bridge

Canada’s Champlain Bridge in Montreal is preparing to open for traffic, six months later than planned.

On 3 June, officials announced plans to open the bridge’s northbound lanes, towards Montreal. The southbound lanes will open on 17 June.

Once operational, the bridge will connect the Montreal boroughs of Verdun and Le Sud-Ouest to Brossard on the South Shore.

Autonomous cars can improve traffic flow by 35%, say researchers

An autonomous cars fleet running on roads has been found to improve traffic flow by at least 35%, according to a report by scientists from the University of Cambridge.

Researchers programmed a small fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and observe the patterns of traffic flow when one of the cars came to a halt.

Similar to a real-world scenario, any vehicle behind the stationary car had to stop or slow down and wait for a gap in the traffic.

SK Telecom and IFEZ Authority to develop 5G map for self-driving cars

South Korea’s SK Telecom signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) to develop 5G-based infrastructure for self-driving cars.

Under the MoU, the South Korea-based telecom firm will create a high-definition (HD) map covering the entire IFEZ area starting with Songdo International City.

The new HD map can be read by machines with centimetre-level accuracy.

Austria’s Graz University develops smart road crossing lights

Researchers at the Graz University of Technology in Austria developed a pedestrian traffic light system that can gauge pedestrians’ intention to cross the road.

The system uses cameras and computer algorithms to operate traffic lights. It will be tested on Vienna’s road next year.

As soon as the system senses that people are looking to cross the road, it automatically turns the traffic lights to red for motorists and green for pedestrians.

UK Government approves £1bn A66 trans-Pennine transformation plan

Highways England received the go-ahead from the UK Government for the £1bn trans-Pennine (A66) transformation scheme.

The key northern route A66 connects Penrith in Cumbria with Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire and serves as the link to the Lake District and North Pennines to the east of England.

According to Highways England, plans are underway to completely dual A66’s remaining single carriageway sections, which total 18 miles of the 50-mile route.

HERE Technologies and Mitsubishi trial hazard alert system for drivers

Mitsubishi Electric and HERE Technologies piloted a hazard alert system that enables cars to automatically warn approaching vehicles with lane-level precision about upcoming potential dangers on roads.

In March, the two companies performed field tests of this technology, called Lane Hazard Warning.

Prior to the trials in California, the technology was tested in Ibaraki Prefecture in Japan last year.

Dubai RTA introduces smart system to detect vacant parking spaces

Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) launched a smart system to detect empty parking spaces at Al Rigga and Dubai World Centre.

The system was also deployed along the extension of Sheikh Zayed Road (E11).

As part of the digital parking system, nearly 2,030 ground sensors and 70 overhead digital cameras have been installed.

Germany opens first electrified highway for trucks

Germany opened its first electrified highway for trucks near Frankfurt as part of the country’s plans to reduce carbon and nitrogen oxides emissions.

The 5km to 6km stretch on the Autobahn (motorway) 5 between Darmstadt and Frankfurt will be tested in both directions until 2022.

Called ‘electrified, innovative heavy traffic on the autobahn’ (Elisa), the project involves five logistics companies testing vehicles in real traffic with hybrid, battery-powered trucks.