Another item of interest I had come across in Joe Moran’s book was the “Conemaster,” an automated device for laying down traffic cones on the highway. That’s a U.K. product, but there are others, as the video — of a “single operator lane closure system” — above shows. Given the hazards posed by drivers to people working on highways, this is a clearly useful device. A bit of background:
Currently, traffic cones are deployed by a person riding on the exterior of a modified vehicle. This person is typically either standing in a basket at the end of a truck or sitting near ground level between the axles of the customized cone body truck. On the current Caltrans cone truck, two horizontal stacks of cones are fed by conveyor to a worker who then places or retrieves the cones while another person drives the vehicle.
In 1990, The State of California paid out $36,000 in injury claims related to manual cone laying. This increased over 10 time in four years to $321,000 in 1994. Available statistics suggest that this trend of increasing costs is continuing.
The AHMCT Center has developed a machine that can automatically place and retrieve traffic cones. This machine fits onto existing Caltrans traffic cone trucks and all operations are controlled from within the cab by either the driver or a second operator.
A typical lane configuration uses 80 traffic cones for each 1.5 miles of lane closure. Traffic cones come in various sizes up to 36 inches high. Caltrans uses a 28 inch high cone that weighs 10 pounds. When cones are being carried to and from stacks on the bed of a truck, personnel are restricted from carrying more than 3 cones at one time and this operation of manually transferring the cones is often performed on the roadway.
Now, where have our robotic bollards gone?
Oh, and by the way, it cleans up after itself too.
This entry was posted on Monday, June 29th, 2009 at 1:30 pm and is filed under Traffic Engineering, Traffic Wonkery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.