ARA Helps Make Roadways Safer for First Responders

Multi-modal system incorporates visual, tactile, audible warnings

Roadways are dangerous places for emergency personnel, and Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA), in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security Science & Technology Directorate, is striving to make them safer.

Every year, first responders and roadway workers are injured or killed when they are hit by drivers who are speeding, drunk, distracted, or drowsy, and fail to avoid an incident scene, causing physical and emotional suffering for the first responders and their families. ARA is working with the S&T to create a holistic warning system that will greatly reduce risk and enhance safety for first responders and motorists.

The Automated Driver and Responder Alert System (ADRAS) combines driver notification and increased responder visibility using visual, tactile, and audible warnings. The system integrates several existing technologies that can be easily deployed in the event of a roadway emergency.

The system alerts drivers approaching the scene of an emergency with an audible warning and gives instructions to take actions necessary to avoid a collision, such as reducing speed.  

If the driver doesn’t respond to initial early warnings as they approach the emergency scene, the audible warning intensifies and responders’ vests will light up to warn them of the potential threat and increase their visibility to the oncoming motorist. If the threat from the oncoming vehicle continues, the vests flash and the system will issue a loud warning that responders can hear and feel with enough lead-time to get out of danger.

The system underwent field testing in August with first responders and transportation stakeholders to ensure the technology meets their operational needs. This life-saving technology should be available to first responder agencies by spring 2019.

About ARA

Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA) was founded in 1979, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to offer science and engineering research to solve problems of national importance. ARA delivers leading-edge products and innovative solutions for national defense, energy, homeland security, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. With over 1,700 employee-owners at locations in the U.S. and Canada, ARA offers a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil engineering, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, biomedical engineering, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement.