VMS an effective tool for traffic calming on Waiheke Island

A survey carried out in 2011 by Auckland City Council to investigate problem speed zones in the city highlighted a major issue on Waiheke Island with 88% of motorists, screened during the survey, found to be travelling above designated speed limits.

“Auckland Transport had heard of the success Fulton Hogan had at reducing the speed of motorists during major road works along Glenfield Road by using our Variable Message Signs,” said Mario Bennett, Hire Sales Engineer from CSP. “These systems not only act as a message board but have a speed radar built in which records and produces a log of the speeds and time of passing motorists. When Auckland Transport enquired about its use, to assist the Police based on Waiheke, we knew we could help.”

In an initiative to work on the problem Auckland Transport funded a five-week trial for CSP’s Variable Message Sign to be strategically positioned in problem spots on the island.

“Mario from CSP helped set up the VMS which we positioned in areas such as the high volume roads to both the passenger and car ferries,” said Raymond Matthews, Police Constable for NZ Police on Waiheke.

Ray wanted motorists to become more aware of their speed and asked that CSP programme the board to have a default message of ‘SLOW DOWN – YOU’RE HERE’ – which he explained is a mantra used by residents on the island to remind visitors of where they are.

“For motorists travelling below or up to the speed limit we requested their speed flash and then say ‘THANK YOU ’ says Ray. “If motorists travelled above the speed limit the board would flash their speed and then ‘SLOW DOWN’ in big red and blue letters – NZ Police colours.”

Ray moved the VMS all over the island to see if it had the desired effect. After five weeks on the island the trial was over and Ray reviewed the results of the speed log. ”We could see that overall average speeds have definitely reduced,” said Ray. “There are several reasons I think this worked; the shame factor - as the sign flashes at you to slow down and everyone can see it. I am sure some people thought they would receive an infringement notice which is a bit of a scare tactic - but it worked.”

The use of CSP’s VMS made a big difference to the average speed of motorists and even weeks later Ray says that people are still behaving well on the roads. “I am not sure how long it will last,” adds Ray. “It may be something we need to do every so often to remind motorists to ‘SLOW DOWN – YOU’RE HERE’.”

Principal:Auckland Transport
Customer:Waiheke Police
Location:Various locations on Waiheke Island
Product:Variable Message Signs (VMS)

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