Queensland University of Technology engineers are working to develop a new type of potentially life-saving traffic barrier, thanks to a $216,000 Australian Research Council grant.
Designed to reduce the severity of high-speed accidents, the new road barriers will feature a combination of composite materials, making them more efficient in absorbing impact energy.
Dr Prasad Gudimetla, from QUT's Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering, said that the lack of adequate road safety equipment is a contributing factor in the loss of around 1600 lives each year on Australia's roads.
"Current safety equipment such as road barriers are inefficient in lessening the impact of road crashes as they are too rigid to absorb a threshold level of crash energy from vehicles and protect passengers and road users," Dr Gudimelta said.
"This project will develop a new generation of high energy absorbing road safety barrier using a combination of composite materials to provide better protection for all road users.
"The new barrier will be highly efficient in absorbing crashes from vehicles travelling at speeds of between 60km/h to over a 100km/h."
The university hopes to have the new barriers installed in high accident zones, with the ultimate goal of reducing injury, medical, rehabilitation and property damage costs.