Melbourne Burnley Tunnel AI lights divide drivers

2 minutes, 16 seconds Read

Artificially intelligent lights encouraging drivers to move faster through an underground tunnel in Melbourne has received a mixed response from motorists weeks after its installation.

The bright green LED lights in the Burnley Tunnel, connecting the West Gate Freeway to the Monash Freeway, light up the tunnel walls 15km/h quicker than the speed of traffic moving through, but no faster than 80km/h.

The lights, which came at a cost of $13 million to the state government, were designed to combat motorists slowing down up the tunnel’s 65-metre ascent where traffic was typically held up.

Six weeks since their introduction, Transurban’s general manager of operations Phil Naulls said the lights were having their intended effect and had increased speeds during peak periods.

Between 7am and 10am, there had been a 15 per cent increase in vehicle speed through the tunnel, and between 7am and 7pm speeds had increased by 12 per cent, he said.

“There’s three per cent more traffic going through, and they’re all going through approximately 10 per cent faster – in some cases, 17 per cent faster,” Mr Naulls said.

He said the results were more than double what had been expected.

Burnley Tunnel’s new AI lights have divided Melbourne drivers. Picture: NineBurnley Tunnel’s new AI lights have divided Melbourne drivers. Picture: Nine

There had also been a five per cent increase in volume.

“There’s more vehicles going through it and they’re all driving a bit quicker, so they’re getting through the tunnel about 50 seconds faster,” Mr Naulls told Nine.

While Transurban was confident the huge spend had been paying off in spades, not all motorists were convinced the lights were necessary.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. You’re concentrating on the lights and not the actual traffic in front of you … turn them off,” one driver told Nine.

Mr Naulls argued distracted drivers had not been an issue and there had been no accidents since the lights were installed.

A man driving a truck went so far as to describe the lights, “useless”.

“It makes no difference, I come through a heap so it doesn’t make any difference whatsoever,” another driver said.

A young woman unconvincingly described the lights “good” while a few others were more enthusiastic.

“Keep them going,” one man said, with another saying, “I love them”.

More Coverage

Brutal attack on woman with crutchesCommuter chaos after horror truck smash

The “pacemaker” lights were inspired by some installed in Tokyo’s Bay Aqua-Line road and tunnel, Mr Naulls said.

Keep the conversation going, email [email protected]

Read related topics:Melbourne

Similar Posts