New construction site camera system wins Highways England safety award

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An innovative dual camera system that can spot both road workers speeding through construction sites and road users who illegally drive through cones has won one of Highways England’s inaugural Health, Safety, and Wellbeing Awards.

Hailed as a potential life saver, the award-winning SAFETYcam system is the first of its kind, and is housed in one vehicle. The technology is currently being extensively tested across motorways and main A-roads managed by Highways England (HE), with initial pilot trials showing extremely positive results.

The camera system was one of two winners in the Health & Safety Innovation category at HE’s first Health, Safety and Wellbeing awards ceremony. Open to HE and its supply chain, the new awards attracted 115 entries across six categories. The nine winning entries ranged from initiatives to improve the mental health and wellbeing of staff to improving the safe loading of trucks.

HE recognizes that road workers are continually exposed to hazards associated with passing traffic in its work zones, and the movement of vehicles on-site. Developed by Carnell Support Services and Kier Highways, SAFETYcam is a mobile road worker protection system that fuses image, video and automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) technology with state-of-the-art processing and reporting techniques.

It aims to improve the safety of road workers by improving driver behavior in and around work zones and construction sites. SAFETYcam uses two camera systems: one to monitor and report on the speeds of passing site traffic; and one to record beginning-to-end submissible footage of unauthorized vehicle incursions into road works. The vehicle features:

• Front HD video camera;

• Speed camera (rear);

• HD video camera (rear);

• ALPR system;

• Cloud-based data capture;

• Onboard wi-fi;

• Watermarked hard drive.

As well as hosting both specialist camera systems and onboard wi-fi capability, SAFETYcam is a fully resourced and functional site welfare vehicle that is available for use by all. In the SAFETYcam vehicle’s first trials in the West Midlands in the UK, a 50% month-on-month reduction was recorded in road workers driving 10mph (16km/h) above the signed limit through sites. And at trials in Essex, the number of roadworks incursions reduced by more than 80%.

“It’s well known that safety is our first imperative, and I am delighted that these awards highlight that. The camera system, for example, will ultimately save lives,” commented Jim O’Sullivan, HE’s chief executive.

“This project and the other winners show how innovative ways of thinking will make things safer for those working on and using our strategic road network.”

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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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