30 January 2007
RTA's new school zone lights at
100 schools are an expensive scandal:

1. Three times the price of the last lot - $36,000 per sign vs $12,000 (vs $350 for my lights). 2. Supposed to be the final deal, but just another trial. 3. Supposed to be much more reliable than the original ones, so why the need for expensive back-to-base monitoring. 4. At every location in St George at least one of the signs is hidden by trees, poles or a bend in the road (attached photos). 5. No flashing lights on two of the main approach roads to the speed camera site at Kogarah.

1. I complained about the last lot that cost $12,000 per sign. (The 3-year trial at 43 schools.) The new ones cost $36,000 per sign ($7.2M for 200 signs as per RTA web site )

According to the RTA there are 11,000 school zones in NSW, or 22,000 signs. At the above price that comes to almost $800M to do all signs!

By comparison my lights cost $350 per sign, plus the cost of Energy Australia running the power down the pole. That price includes a GPS satellite receiver to receive the time signal accurate to the microsecond. For standalone solar powered units mine cost $700 per sign.

(The 3-month RTA trial of my lights was successful and the RTA has given me a contract to sign saying that I hand over the technology to them at no charge. They offered to reimburse my current out-of-pocket expenses.)

2. According to Eric Roozendaal's press release of 21 May 2006 regarding the new lights, quote: "This is not a trial".

The RTA said last week that the new lights are a "trial of lights from 7 different manufacturers". The above RTA web site says: "An evaluation of the new systems will occur over 12 operational school weeks".

3. The new lights are more expensive because they have back-to-base monitoring. In the press release the Minister said the new lights will be much more reliable than the previous ones, which he said had an average of 2 faults per 18 months. If they are so reliable why do they need back to base monitoring, especially given that hundreds of interested parents, teachers and children pass the signs every single day and can report any faults?

4. At the ($6M+ revenue per year) speed camera site on the Princes Hwy at Kogarah there are 4 main approach roads with 40kmh signs, Princes Hwy Nth, Princes Hwy Sth, Rocky Point Rd and President Ave. Flashing lights have been installed on the Princes Hwy approaches only. Why not the others?

5. All lights are installed on signs on the left hand side of the road even though that means most are hidden by trees, poles or bends in the road, especially when travelling in the left-hand lane - the most dangerous lane to children (see attached photos). We are paying $36,000 per sign for invisible lights!

The RTA claims that the flashing lights cannot be installed on the sign on the median strip or on the right hand side of the road even when that sign is much more visible, because a driver might look at the lights on the right and fail to see a child leaving the kerb on the left. THEN WHY HAVE A SIGN ON THE RIGHT AT ALL??? It takes 3-4 seconds to read the entire sign, but only about a tenth of a second to register the flashing lights. And in all of the cases listed below drivers would see the flashing lights when still 200-300 metres from the 40kmh zone if the lights were on the other side, hence no such risk to children at all.

For more information contact:
Peter Olsen
11 Maple St
Lugarno 2210