The number of drivers feeling safe travelling along two key coastal roads in the UK’s Channel Islands has more than doubled following an initiative to improve visibility by installing solar-powered road studs.
A road user survey, undertaken by UK traffic technology developer Clearview Intelligence, showed that only 46% of night-time drivers felt safe driving on the Route de la Lague/Route de Rocquaine on the island of Guernsey, and similarly, just 40% of drivers using La Neuve Rue felt safe driving along it after dark. The two rural roads offered little or no delineation, so in response to driver concerns about navigating the unlit, narrow coastal roads after dark, Clearview’s SolarLite Active Road Studs were installed along both routes on behalf of the States of Guernsey.
Unlike traditional retro-reflective studs or ‘cat’s eyes’, which are reliant upon a vehicle headlight beam to be seen up to 295ft (90m) away, active road studs actively emit light through solar-powered LEDs that are visible from up to half a mile (800m) away. This offers improved delineation for all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists. With an operational lifespan of up to 10 years, and the potential to last up to five times longer than reflective studs, using active road studs reduces the need for regular maintenance and replacement work. The use of sustainable solar energy also eliminates the need for mains power and roadside equipment.
Following installation of the SolarLite Active Studs, 79% of drivers using the Route de la Lague/Route de Rocquaine felt safe using the road after dark whilst along the La Neuve Rue, the figure more than doubled to 92%. Following completion of the trial project, States of Guernsey commissioned a second phase of installations along additional routes across the island, due to be completed in 2019.
“The feedback from the motoring public has been very positive, with many people suggesting more sites where they would like to see Active Road Studs installed,” said Kevin Lesbirel, Guernsey’s senior traffic services officer. “We are considering further sites and also considering replacing existing reflective studs with the new Active Road Studs.”
Clearview’s senior solutions manager, Graham Muspratt, commented, “Given the challenges and topography of the area, installing mains power lighting was neither practical nor atheistic and traditional retro reflective studs would not have improved the short field of vision. SolarLite studs proved to be the most cost effective and impactive solution for the customer and road users.”