Two routes in the UK that have previously been given the title of ‘most dangerous’ roads have won prestigious Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards for their significant casualty reductions, due in part to their use of average speed camera systems.
Jenoptik Traffic Solutions UK (formerly Vysionics) supplied SPECS average speed camera systems to both the A9 Safety Group, and the Cheshire East Council and Cheshire Road Safety Group A537 Cat and Fiddle partnership, contributing to the road safety improvements recognized by the judging panel. SPECS cameras are now widely proven to have a demonstrable and consistent influence on driver behavior, driving down casualties through compliance with posted speed limits, and a harmonization of vehicle speeds where they are installed.
The Scottish Government is committed to a £3bn (US$3.7bn) strategy to fully dual the A9 between Perth and Inverness by 2025. The A9 Safety Group, comprising experienced representatives from public and private sectors, was established to improve safety on the route during this intervening period. The Group’s ‘Interim Safety Plan’, comprising a mix of engineering, education, and enforcement measures, developed from independent research, was designed to improve driver behavior with the over-riding objective of reducing the number of people killed or seriously injured. The A9 now represents Europe’s longest enforcement system with cameras covering 137 miles (220km) of road, involving a mixture of single and dual carriageway sections, running through the center of Scotland.
For years, the A537 Macclesfield to Buxton road has had a history of incidents, many involving high powered motor cycles. It was often ranked as the highest risk road in the UK EuroRAP surveys. A decision was therefore taken to implement rearward facing average speed cameras. This was the first time that they had been used on a remote rural road with long straights, sweeping bends, tight corners, and varying gradients over moorland. Together with other measures, such as reduction in speed limit, high friction road surfacing, high visibility warning signs, red warning surface dressing, motorcycle friendly barriers, enforcement signage, carriageway widening, and mobile camera deployment, casualties have reduced. The A537 Cat and Fiddle (below) was the first permanent UK average speed installation to operate in ‘rear facing’ mode, allowing motorcycles to be monitored by cameras viewing their rear number plates.
In common with all other SPECS systems installed as part of a casualty reduction scheme, the two routes have seen significant reductions to the Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) casualties, with the latest figures for the A537 showing a 77% reduction, and the A9 a 62% reduction. SPECS camera schemes have now been involved in seven Prince Michael Award winning projects, with others in 2002, 2006, 2008, 2014, and now two in 2016.
Geoff Collins, sales and marketing director for Jenoptik Traffic Solutions UK, commented, “Once again we are delighted to be involved in more award winning projects, providing further proof that a well design average speed installation will contribute toward making a dangerous route, safer for all road users.”