Sat, Sep 15, 2012 - Page 4 News List

New system to monitor treacherous roads

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ institute of transportation said yesterday that it has developed an automatic system to monitor changes in slopes which border highways in an attempt to reduce the casualties on the nation’s roads that are caused by natural disasters.

The institute said the system was developed to prevent casualties on landslide-prone Highway No. 9, also known as the Suhua Highway.

It added that heavy rain often leads to landslides on the highway which disrupts traffic — with sometimes fatal consequences. One of the most tragic events happened in October 2010, when landslides caused a tour bus to overturn, killing 26 people on board.

According to the institute, the automated system sends text messages to relevant authorities about the possibility of landslides or falling rocks along the highway up to three hours before a typhoon or heavy rains hit.

The institute added that the system integrates several devices — including a rainfall recorder, GPS, a seismograph, microwave communications and video cameras. It is also equipped with meteorological simulation technology which can provide rainfall estimates every three hours.

The system has helped highway authorities establish early-warning systems for different types of disasters and allows them to react to potential disasters quickly and accurately, the institute added.

The institute said it has compared the system’s results with those detected through other devices and found that the system can accurately reflect the changes to side slopes. Text messages had all been sent successfully during the rainy season this year, it added.

The institute said it also plans to use the system to monitor other highways.

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