Driver survey shows success of UK road upgrade scheme


Drivers using a route that was recently upgraded by Highways England (HE) have called for the technology used in the road improvement scheme to be replicated across all UK highways, with 91% citing improved visibility and 77% feeling more confident driving at night. 

Last year, HE worked in a collaborative partnership with WJ Group and Clearview Intelligence to deliver long term improvements along a 6.2-mile (10km) long stretch of the A38 in Derbyshire. HE was tasked with bringing an older road up to modern standards without the ability to amend the layout and ensuring minimal disruption to road users on the busy A road.

The objective was to deliver a lasting, 20-year solution that would improve the road users’ experience, increase visibility for drivers, and require minimal future maintenance to avoid disrupting the 23,000 motorists who use the road daily.

Traditional retro-reflective road studs (cat’s eyes) were replaced with Clearview’s SolarLite Active Road Studs, and WJ Group used high-visibility lane marking and a high-friction pavement surface to minimize the risk of skidding. The SolarLite studs can be seen from up to 2,953 feet (900m) away and have an operational lifespan of up to 10 years – up to four times longer than retro-reflective studs.

Because they can be seen up to 10 times further away, they provide up to 10 times more reaction time for drivers. Therefore, while a driver traveling at 62mph (100km/h) would only have 3.2 seconds to react to a change in a road layout using conventional studs, the SolarLite alternative gives more than 30 seconds of reaction time.

Since its completion, more than 700 drivers living near the scheme completed a survey regarding the improvements, with 87% of respondents now feeling ‘reasonably’ or ‘totally’ safe using the road, compared to just 28% before. The studs have proved popular with survey respondents, with many describing them as “amazing” and likening them to “airport runways”. Drivers also reported feeling “a lot safer”, with some describing it as “the best road in the country”. Others said the scheme should be replicated on “every road in the country,” with additional feedback stating the upgrade would be “great across the UK” as it “had the potential to save lives”.

“From an industry perspective we have already had confirmation that this scheme has been successful with a win at last year’s Highways Awards. But it is important to remember that it is the opinion of the end user, the driver, that ultimately matters as every road improvement scheme is delivered for their benefit,” noted Andy Salotti, director of solutions at Clearview Intelligence.

“These results were gathered from drivers who use this route regularly. To have received such overwhelmingly positive feedback demonstrates just how positive and effective this scheme has been. With that in mind, we are pleased to have received the go ahead for the commencement of the second stage of the A38 improvements scheme at Little Eaton over the next few months.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.