The National Academies

NCHRP IDEA 20-30/IDEA 015 [Completed (IDEA)]

A Road Crew Portable Laser Warning System Concept Development and Demonstration
[ NCHRP 20-30 (NCHRP-IDEA) ]

  Project Data
Staff Responsibility: Dr. Inam Jawed

The project applied a laser technology to develop a portable warning system to improve safety for highway workers (Figure 1). The system consists of a battery-powered master laser transmitter mounted on a traffic cone, one or more laser receiver-transmitters also mounted on traffic cones, and a worker notification warning system. A pulsed laser beam from the master laser transmitter is directed toward the laser receiver-transmitter located at the end of taper. The beam is detected by the receiver at that point. The detection event triggers the laser that is co-located with the receiver, and it transmits laser pulses toward a second receiver located at the end of the work zone. The retransmitted beam is received by the final detector at the end of the work zone. If the first beam or the retransmitted beam is interrupted by an errant vehicle at any point, the lack of a laser signal at the final receiver causes an electrical signal to be generated that activates an alarm system, notifying workers to take evasive action. In this way, the laser beam acts as an electro-optical barrier along the taper and the work zone.
The system configuration can be modified to suit the size and nature of highway maintenance activity. A field demonstration was carried out at the contractor’s facility in California with satisfactory performance. The final report is available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS # PB97-143861).

The final report for this IDEA project can be found at:

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