Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the installation of Doppler-radar-enhanced LED signs to alert wrong way drivers before they enter the Niagara Expressway (I-190) at the southbound exit 9 off-ramp in Buffalo. The signs, which were developed in-house by New York State Thruway Authority staff, will also be installed at exit 10 on I-87/I-287 in Nyack, Rockland County, where wrong way drivers have entered and caused serious accidents in the past.
"New York is the first state in the nation to utilize this sophisticated technology to enhance traffic safety and save lives," Governor Cuomo said. "Last year the New York State Thruway was the safest it has been in its entire 59 year history, and these signs -- which were designed and manufactured in Upstate New York -- are helping us continue that progress in new and innovative ways."
These new signs are the latest development in the Thruway Authority's work to ensure that motorists have the highest level of safety while on the 570-mile superhighway. Doppler radar is used to detect vehicles traveling the wrong way and when identified, the sign flashes a customized LED message to alert the drivers of their error and instruct them to pull over and turn around when it is safe to do so. The sign will also trigger automatic alerts to other drivers on the Thruway's variable message sign system, and automatically alert the Thruway's Statewide Operations Center.
The signs located at exit 9 (I-190) in Buffalo and exit 10 (I-87/I-287) in Nyack are the first two to be installed along the Thruway. This technology will be expanded to several other locations, making the Thruway the only superhighway leader in the nation utilizing this technology. The signs were developed from research by Thruway engineer Steve Velicky, and manufactured by Fiberdyne Labs of Frankfort, NY and Herkimer Industries of Herkimer, NY.
Thruway Authority Chairman Howard P. Milstein said, "Our primary goal at the Thruway is to provide the highest level of safety to our customers. This institutional commitment, the creativity and proactivity of our staff, and Governor Cuomo's support, illustrate why the Thruway is considered one of the safest roads in the nation year after year."
Thruway Executive Director Thomas J. Madison said, "Everything we do at the Thruway is done with one thing in mind--safety. These signs are the latest example our staff's dedication to providing a safe and reliable experience to our customers and we will continue to explore additional innovative solutions to modern travel risks."
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, "One of the top priorities of the State Police and Troop T is to keep motorists safe on New York's roadways. I commend the state and the Thruway Authority for taking this cutting-edge step. The State Police supports any technology that can save lives and prevent injuries."
Last year, 2012, was the safest year in the history of the Thruway. Nationally, the primary measure of safety is the fatality rate, which is calculated as the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicles miles (MVM) traveled. In 2012, with more than 345 million vehicles traveling approximately 8.5 billion miles on the Thruway, there were 17 fatalities resulting from 15 accidents. These statistics reflect a rate of 0.20 fatalities per 100 MVM, the lowest rate in the Thruway's 59-year history.