The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is updating 54 rural intersections with intelligent transportation systems to improve intersection safety.
MnDOT is adding Rural Intersection Conflict Warning Systems (RICWS) at locations identified as high risk using variables including visibility, nearby commercial development, nearby railroad tracks, traffic volume, crash history and distance from a previous stop sign.
The RICWS use traditional signage in combination with flashing lights that activate when approaching traffic triggers a sensor. On the major road, a standard “Entering Traffic” sign will appear along with a “When Flashing” sign and flashing light alerts motorists as they approach and pass the intersection.
The lights flash only when vehicles are present on the minor road, MnDOT says. The minor road will show a “Traffic Approaching” sign in LED that is constantly on, along with a “When Flashing” sign that has dual flashing lights. These lights appear only at the presence of approaching traffic.
“The system gives real-time warning to motorists approaching a stop sign that there is traffic approaching and also warns drivers on the road without the stop sign that a vehicle is stopped or entering the intersection,” RICWS Project Manager Ken Hansen said. “Injuries in rural areas are usually serious injuries and fatalities. Emergency response often takes longer because of the distance between cities. We think these systems will make a difference in reducing crashes and saving lives.”
A full list of the locations receiving the RICWS upgrade is available here.