HE begins smart street light monitoring trial

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A street light monitoring system that automatically alerts traffic managers of faults that could dramatically cut the number of inspections required is being trialled by Highways England.

The 12 month project in the Midlands will assess whether the typically onerous manual checking of lamps on the road network that is time consuming for technicians and often leads to lane closures can be a thing of the past.

Highways England has invested almost £2.6 million in the ground-breaking GridKey technology thanks to a £150 million ring-fenced fund for innovation projects.

Capable of detecting power supply cable failures or lights not operating correctly, the system will instantly inform a data centre so the issue can be assessed prior to sending an electrical team out to repair it if necessary.

Highways England supplier relationships manager, Lisa Maric, who leads the project, said, “This continuous monitoring will bring large operational cost savings by reducing the need for frequent testing and inspections which could lead to fewer lane closures affecting drivers’ journeys.

“We will be able to identify faults more quickly and resolve the issue straight away or continuously monitor the situation.

“It will also improve safety by minimising the need to have our workforce out on the road – safety is always our number one priority.”

In conjunction with Kier, the trial will see some 60 GridKey units trialled in phase 1 and a further 400 units in Phase 2 tested on both built-up and rural networks and monitoring cables of different types, length and age across the Midlands. The approach will provide a better understanding of the electrical loads and stresses on the street lighting power network and will help to monitor lighting circuits as the schemes are rolled out or updated.

Kier electrical & compliance manager, Mick Leech, said, “This project will reduce the amount of time that operations are required on the highway and the need to work at height and increases road space availability.

“The outcomes from the data collected will allow for a strategic approach to end of life replacement of the power cable Infrastructure in a planned manner thus reducing interruptions on the network.”

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James joined the Traffic Technology International team in 2017. Previously he was Assistant Editor on an engineering title for several years and has worked for various other trade magazines before that. James is happily married and has a young daughter and son who keep him busy.