A reduction in electricity consumption-related emissions and reduced maintenance costs were just two of the benefits delivered by Ventia's Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) team on the M80 freeway in Melbourne, as part of the ITS system upgrades. 

A major upgrade to the freeway, stretching between Sydney and Edgars Roads in both directions, commenced in 2020 and was completed in May 2022. 

Ventia was contracted to deliver the design and construction of the smart freeway ITS, for clients CPB, delivering to network operators Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) and the Department of Transport. 

Ventia's scope included the design and delivery of backbone fibre and tail fibre networks including network integration and associated infrastructure, new smart ITS devices such as Variable Message Signs (VMS), Lane Used Management System Signs (LUMS), Variable Speed Limit Signs (VSLS), Ramp Metering Control systems, CCTV and data stations. 

Ventia's scope included the design and delivery of backbone fibre and tail fibre networks


Design Manager Sarath Wijesinghe says as a result of the work done by him and the Ventia team, road users will experience more reliable journeys and improved safety. 

"Over 165,000 motorists use this freeway each day, so improving travel times was a key objective, along with improving the safety of road users through minimising the need for drivers to merge lanes," Sarath says. 

Ultimately this will improve traffic flow and therefore reduce congestion during peak travel hours.

General Manager, Transport Technology and Rail Services James Bennett says the team collaborated to deliver an innovative solution for the client, following the release of updated specifications for VMS on Victoria's roads. 

"Keeping abreast of new specifications and ensuring that the assets we recommend and provide our clients are innovative, sustainable from an environmental perspective and are cost effective to maintain are key objectives for our team," James says. 

"This new VMS will currently deliver a reduction of 11.5 to 14 tonnes CO2-equivalent annual emissions due to a substantial reduction in electricity consumption compared to the old versions, thanks to RGB low powered technology."

At Ventia, we continually challenge ourselves to do things better than they've been done before, and I think this project saw us achieve that.

The first Type C, high resolution, full-colour RGB VMS installed within Victoria.

Leading technology

Through collaboration with Major Road Projects Victoria MRPV, CPB and manufacturer Compusign, the team were able to deliver a type of VMS that had not been used before. 

"A tight schedule, combined with the new technology, meant it was really important that we adhered to a strict series of compliance and standards checking throughout the project," Sarath says. 

He notes that this is the first Type C, high resolution, full-colour RGB VMS installed within Victoria and stands at a huge 9.7 by 2.3 metres. 


M80 upgrade

The overarching M80 upgrade will widen the freeway, widen on and off ramps and install a new freeway management system along 38km of road from Laverton North to Greensborough. To minimise disruption, the upgrade is being staged in sections, with the section between Sydney Road and Edgars Road recently completed. For this section, new lanes were added along with upgrades to key interchanges, installation of a smart freeway management system and new on and off ramps. All of which will provide safer and more reliable journeys for motorists in Melbourne's north.