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Centre for Road Safety

Speed alert digital readout shows 70km/h speed limit and 55km/h curve advisory speed.

Clever warning systems

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) involves advanced systems that assist drivers to stick to the speed limit. Technology using a global navigation satellite system such as GPS is linked to a speed zone database that allows the vehicle to "know" its location and the speed limit on that road. The ISA system provides visual and auditory feedback to the driver if the vehicle exceeds the speed limit.

The NSW ISA trial

In 2010, we completed a trial of ISA technology to examine:

  • The effectiveness of ISA devices to help drivers comply with speed limits
  • The road safety benefits of ISA
  • Driver acceptability of ISA devices

The trial was the largest connected-vehicle project of its kind ever conducted in Australia. The trial included more than 100 vehicles from the Illawarra region, with a mix of private business fleets and private driver volunteers. The vehicles were fitted with a GPS data recorder to track their speed and location before, during and after the ISA technology was installed. Drivers travelled more than 1.9 million km during the trial period. More than 7.6 million speed data records were analysed by our researchers, as well as driver behavioural surveys.

The ISA system reduced speeding in 89 per cent of trial vehicles. The median probability of speeding was also reduced by almost 30 per cent when ISA was active. When the ISA system was removed, 85 per cent of vehicles increased the proportion of their trip time when they travelled in excess of the legal speed limit. Results of the trial demonstrate that ISA technology has the potential to realise substantial road safety benefits by increasing drivers’ compliance with speed limits.

Mathematical modelling of the trial data by the University of Adelaide’s Centre for Automotive Safety Research estimated that if advisory ISA technology was fitted to all cars, then serious and fatal crashes could be reduced by about 19 per cent Australia wide. This represents about 200 lives per year.

The Australian College of Road Safety website has more information in the Intelligent Speed Adaptation Trial: Further Results (PDF, 678KB).

Speed Adviser: ISA smartphone app

The Speed Adviser ISA smartphone app is designed to reduce speeding and save lives. The smartphone app provides free access to accurate speed zone information and warnings covering the NSW road network.