Sydney is one of the most iconic cities in the world, housing some of the most powerful companies and best tourist attractions. But having the most glorious opera house on the planet wasn't enough for local Sydneysiders. The city is now making big moves towards modernising itself to become the first city in the world to introduce E-ink equipped parking signs.
Visionect, the Slovenian vendor has announced that the state of New South Wales’ Road and Maritime Services (RMS) have adopted the new signage concept to help ease the process of updating signs manually to announce upcoming events. Anyone who lives in Sydney will know that the roads are fairly difficult to navigate, especially when big events such as football matches and cricket matches are being held in the city’s stadiums. The efforts to appease traffic and congestion have resulted in the city now being able to update parking signs in the vicinity ahead of such events by changing certain parking arrangements around the city. The new concept will help commuters from parking illegally, receiving parking tickets and getting towed away if the parking regulations change in their area due to an event.
A spokesperson from the RMS explained that the new form of signage is to help the city’s efforts with changing event signs. They continued to comment; “The design, engineering and building work to create the signs was completed by a specialised engineering team within the Roads and Maritime and forms part of the agency’s commitment to improve journey efficiency through innovation.”
The RMS expanded on this by saying that the agency has “successfully advocated to US based company E-ink to be involved as one of the four global partners to trial their proprietary EPD (Electrophoretic display) technology on applications other than e-readers.”
Once the staff had made the necessary agreements, they then continued to source various technology providers to assist in the development of this new electronic hardware required to support the E-sign infrastructure.
The technology’s capability of saving commuters time and money has already been proven with the successful installation on George Street in Sydney CBD. Assistance in improving congestion firstly reduces the amount of time cars are sitting around wasting traveller’s valuable time and money and secondly the potential to alleviate major congestion zones can drastically improve the city’s forces to get around the city.
“A second rollout has since been completed in the Moore park area,” completing a successful 15 sign installation, RMS further explained.
The signs are controlled by solar panels and wireless broadband which all connect back to central government authority servers via 3G. This allows RMS to remotely update the signs. When an event occurs within the city the RMS staff can change the text on the screens to reflect new arrangements on Sydney’s streets. In-between events, the screens simply go dark to not display any information. Similar to the screen found on a Kindle, the signs are easy to read under the bright Australian sun and 100% self-sustainable with solar power. The beauty of the technology also means that it won’t malfunction under the suns heat or go down if there is a power cut.
Sydney has been smart in its deployment of E-ink screens because normal television screens that we have become accustomed to consume far too much power. Small solar panels cannot produce the amount of power required by these types of screens, therefore E-ink displays that use considerably less power were an environment-conscious decision.
To put these efforts into perspective, the American city of Los Angeles places 558,000 temporary parking restriction signs up every year at a cost of US$9.5 million. Therefore these E-ink signs have the potential to save Sydney millions of dollars every year, whilst helping commuters be 100% clear on parking restrictions and hopefully avoid parking fines.