Olsen Lights

In early 2006 I heard that the RTA was trialling school zone flashing lights at a cost of around $12,000 per sign.

Based on my experience with computerised Christmas lights I set out to demonstrate that two lights could be made to flash reliably twice per day for far less than that.

I originally developed a simple flashing lights system costing $200 per sign which I installed without approval each side of four schools. One was solar powered and fully computerised. The rest were powered from the nearest house and were controlled by a 7-day electronic timer.

The RTA promptly removed my lights again which triggered significant media attention. A series of meetings with the RTA and Roads Minister followed, resulting in an official trial of my lights being approved. The systems were modified to make them fully computerised, including GPS receivers to obtain accurate time signals from the satellites. That increased the cost to $350 per sign plus installation. The trial commenced in August 2006 at:

The trial ran from 2006 until 2010, when the lights were replaced by standard RTA systems. During the four years that they operated they were 100% reliable, apart from a couple of problems with RTA-supplied power supply equipment. They were the only system to achieve that result.

I have no commercial interest in the project and have given my technology to the RTA to use free of charge.

I have proven that reliable lights can be produced at a fraction of the cost of systems being installed by the RTA, yet the previous government preferred to spend $46.5M of taxpayers' money installing less reliable and less effective lights at just 4% of the school zones in NSW and took 4 years to do so.