Laservision developed a new safety warning system for Tunnel Holdings, the owner and operator of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel. ‘Softstop’ solves the persistent problem of drivers ignoring signals to stop and continuing into the tunnel.
The stop sign uses light projection and pumped water in order to materialize out of thin air. It creates the illusion of a solid surface that instantly blocks both southbound lanes of traffic.
The barrier system produces a pseudo-holographic image that appears to float in mid-air, making the ’STOP’ message impossible for drivers to miss. Unlike conventional warning signs that appear in the peripheral vision of drivers, ‘Softstop’ is the only visual messaging system that appears in the direct view of drivers.
It allows emergency teams to pass through without incident and is also forgiving of motorists who cannot stop within the reasonable response time. Once the traffic has been brought to a standstill, a second ‘physical barrier’ can then be utilized. Tunnel Holdings’ general manager, Bob Allen, said:
We had a fire in the tunnel, motorists ignored the warning lights and signs and continued driving towards the fire. These drivers exposed themselves to smoke and toxic fumes from the fire and then to compound the situation they turned around (in a one way tunnel) and drove back out of the tunnel against incoming traffic… This fire was the catalyst for engaging Laservision to develop the solution.