NSW using drones to support traffic management

More than 70 drones are being deployed to give traffic responders increased visibility from above, supporting the work of the Traffic Management Centre (TMC).

The drones are being deployed around road crashes and choke points, with the visibility provided allowing detours to be put in place to ease delays and clear traffic hams.

Further to the function of reducing congestion through a birds-eye view, the fleet will also be used to improve real-time information relayed on apps like Live Traffic.

Transport for NSW will deploy drones during morning and afternoon peaks and during holiday traffic periods when the network is under pressure.

Over the course of the recent school holidays 160 traffic monitoring and incident response missions totaling nearly 100 hours in the air were completed.

In an Australian first, Transport for NSW pilots are now able to remotely launch and operate drones mounted to TMC response vehicles, getting an eye in the sky sooner.

Transport uses drones for asset inspections, including bridges and roads, and is investigating how they can be used to assist with other high risk work activities carried out by staff.

Projected cost-saving to the people of NSW is more than $71 million in travel time, $24 million in secondary incidents and $23 million in vehicle operating costs.

NSW Minister for Roads John Graham welcomed the opportunity to use new sources of data to ease congestion across the road network.

“With an eye in the sky, detours can be put in place faster and information provided on apps like Live Traffic. No one wants to be stuck at the back of a queue of traffic and drones will help reduce the severity of traffic jams around road incidents,” Minister Graham said.

“We’ve also utilised this technology during major events, including Sydney World Pride, providing vital information to deploy extra public transport services and monitoring for emergencies.

“There are more than 1,700 CCTV cameras across the Greater Sydney Road network, and our drone capabilities supplement these, by providing an extended line of sight in areas not covered by CCTV.”

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