Highways England installs new smart, cloud-linked Swarco Traffic prism signage along M6


A series of reliable and intelligent prism signs installed by Swarco Traffic is helping to advise drivers of diversion routes and other traffic information and updates for Highways England along the M6 in Cumbria.

Highways England, who are responsible for the management and the maintenance of the trunk road network, needed to upgrade the existing signs with a system that was more reliable and durable. It turned to Amey, the infrastructure support services group, and Swarco to provide the solution.

Chris Keatley, Swarco Traffic Project Manager, says the existing signs were in urgent need of upgrading: “They had to be taken down and repaired multiple times in the past few years. Every time they needed to re-direct traffic or communicate key messages and information for motorists, it required somebody to attend the site in person and perform the task manually, which requires significant resource, labour and cost.”

Swarco Traffic specified and installed 10 prism signs, which are being managed by its intelligent cloud-based Zephyr solution, enabling messages to be updated remotely at the touch of a button from a desktop or mobile. The robust Prisms are specifically designed to withstand harsh or adverse weather conditions, equipped with a de-icing feature which means they do not seize up during winter months.

M6 Motorway, UK © Carl Farnell

“Our hardy prism signs are being used across the world for multiple purposes”, continues Keatley. “Not only are they robust, but they also require little maintenance and are very energy efficient. Their flexibility is such that messages can be updated instantly and remotely, without an engineer or maintenance staff having to attend site. This means valuable resources can be saved and allocated where it is needed most.”

“The existing diversion route trigger signs were in a poor state of repair due to exposure to the weather on our rural network,” says Paul Clark, project manager for Cumbria and North Lancashire, Highways England. “They could only be operated manually which became an access issue when traffic queued back past the signs. The replacement signs supplied by Swarco are far more robust and their reliability is proven, most importantly though, they can be operated remotely from our control room or from anywhere with a phone signal for that matter. This scheme was the first phase of the diversion route improvements and over the next few years we hope to replace all the existing signs with Swarco units.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).