Saber launches new cloud-based skid analysis software for better road maintenance planning

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One of the UK’s largest providers of information and analysis for highway condition and inventory, Saber, has developed new skid analysis software to help reduce the risk of road traffic accidents by providing advanced warning of slippery pavement surfaces.

Previously called Highway Surveyors, and a long-standing supplier to local authorities and highway managers throughout the UK, the company recently rebranded as Saber. The cloud-based software analyzes data collected by Saber’s fleet of specialist road survey vehicles that measure levels of skid resistance in wet conditions. Called SKIDAnalyser, the system is provided online as a Software-as-Service (SaaS). It is an industry-first development that uses Google Maps to display data spatially, and includes a tablet app for site investigations. Captured using the company’s TRL-powered and GPS-enabled Sideway-force Coefficient Routine Investigation Machine (SCRIM), Saber’s survey data includes skid resistance measurements and the results of Course Visual Inspections (CVI) of the highway condition and footway (FMS) surveys.

The SCRIM system was introduced in the 1970s and has been used for routine surveys of the skid resistance on strategic roads in the UK since the late 1980s. The machine uses the sideways-force principle: a freely rotating wheel, fitted with a smooth test tire, is angled at 20° to the direction of travel of the vehicle and applied to the road surface under a known vertical load. A flow of water wets the road surface in front of the test wheel so that when the vehicle moves forward, the test wheel slides and the wet skid resistance can be measured.

SCRIM data is fed into Saber’s SKIDAnalyser, which is part of a suite of software tools for managing highway survey data. Through rapid cloud data processing and communication, raw data from surveys becomes available within days of collection, alerting highway authorities to road surfaces that need urgent remedial work to improve road safety. SKIDAnalyser incorporates a range of useful features that provide greater insight into the road surface condition, allowing analysis of raw data including data from below investigatory levels. Accident data can be overlaid, and historical data shown, allowing year-by-year comparison. The handy tablet app allows data to be accessed and viewed during on-site investigations.

“Our focus is to make it easier for highway authorities to do their job by providing easy-to-use tools that speed up workflows and improve efficiency,” explained Steve Batchelor, Saber’s managing director. “This latest development means that skid risk data becomes available not only much more quickly, but it is presented in a visual, easy-to-understand way. This allows decisions to be made more quickly and with greater confidence. We wanted to produce a truly useful tool that would go beyond the call of duty and allow a new level of data analysis, but at the same time make the whole process quicker and easier.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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