Tulsa's new overhead electronic highway signs close to going online

Thursday, October 2nd 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's new electronic signs will soon help you avoid rush hour traffic jams. News on 6 anchor Scott Thompson right now, the black message boards above several Tulsa highways are flashing test messages. But soon they'll be able to give you more information than just the time and temperature.

Each of the message boards will be armed with cameras starting next month. The cameras will allow Department of Transportation workers to keep an eye on traffic. If they spot a problem, they'll be able to post messages alerting drivers of an accident or other logjam. Eventually, they will also be able to alert and dispatch emergency officials to car crashes.

They could also give drivers road conditions during severe weather. OU Tulsa Professor Doctor Jim Sluss just received a half-a-million dollar grant to develop the electronic backbone to support the system. He's working on the software that allows workers to control the message boards and the cameras.

Doctor Sluss says the system isn't just there for driver convenience but safety. “You improve public safety by preventing secondary crashes that may occur as traffic starts to back up."