Reducing traffic delays and worksite accidents

Research suggests that turntables could significantly improve worksite safety and traffic flow around the world

Australian and German researchers are recommending that trucks cease reversing onto and off construction sites as this could significantly improve worksite safety and traffic flow around the world.

Digital modelling undertaken by La Trobe University in Australia and Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) in Germany, showed that installing a large truck turntable on building construction sites can reduce traffic delays on adjacent roads by up to 70 per cent.

Professor of Practice in Engineering at La Trobe University, Chris Stoltz, said the findings had major implications for worksite safety.

“Between 2003 and 2012 in Australia almost 300 members of the public died in work-related incidents involving trucks – and almost half of those involved trucks reversing on or off worksites,” Professor Stoltz said.

“If construction companies installed a turntable so that trucks only drove forward, we could significantly reduce these tragedies.

“We hope our work will help construction companies and regulators understand the importance of measures like turntables in improving worksite safety,” Professor Stoltz said.

Founding director of Fraunhofer IESE and Professor for Software Engineering at TU Kaiserslautern, Dr Dieter Rombach, said traffic micro-simulation modelling showed the impacts of trucks reversing are also felt in surrounding streets.

“Disruption in the form of traffic delays on adjacent roads can be reduced from 80 per cent to 8 per cent by eliminating truck reversing. And the need for vehicles to slow down can be reduced from 14 per cent to just 3 per cent,” Professor Rombach said.

Lead author and engineering lecturer at La Trobe University, Dr Long Truong, said the study showed that installing truck turntables on construction sites has benefits both in busy, metropolitan areas, and in quieter regional neighbourhoods.

Although the modelling was based on Australian construction sites, the researchers also believe it could have implications for Europe, and plan to replicate the study there.

Watch a video on turntables in action.