Safety project at Scottish roundabout wins two major UK transport awards

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A road safety project that used intelligent road studs on a key roundabout outside the Scottish capital has won two separate UK transport industry awards this month.

The project team that worked on the A720 Sheriffhall Roundabout Edinburgh City Bypass improvement scheme have won the John Smart Road Safety Award at the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) annual awards in London, and the Excellence in Technology and Innovation Award at the 14th annual Scottish Transport Awards. The winning team, comprising traffic technology supplier Clearview Intelligence, working alongside BEAR Scotland and current incumbents Amey, for Transport Scotland, are pleased to have received recognition for the innovative intelligent road stud solution put in place at Sheriffhall, which was the first deployment of its type in the UK.

Sheriffhall is a six-arm gyratory that connects several important routes, including the A7, A6106 and the A720, and handles upward of 42,000 vehicles a day. The roundabout is traffic signal controlled and features spiral markings to guide drivers through the junction to their destination arm. Despite these measures, casualty statistics indicated that Sheriffhall had a high frequency of accidents, with some 65 injuries recorded in the 10 years to 2013. Additionally, even minor collisions at this junction have the knock-on effect of causing significant disruption across the network.

BEAR Scotland approached Clearview Intelligence to help develop an active road stud design that would encourage drivers to stay in-lane throughout the complex roundabout junction. Entry to the roundabout from the A720 is traffic light controlled, so the new scheme co-ordinates this signalization with the installation of the Clearview IRS2 intelligent hardwired road studs to increase driver awareness and improve lane discipline across the A720 routes over the roundabout. When the traffic signal turns green, the road studs immediately illuminate and guide drivers onto the appropriate lanes of the roundabout. The studs are extinguished when the signal turns red and traffic from other arms may enter the roundabout. The design of the intelligent road stud scheme, synchronized with the traffic signalization, represented a UK-first when it was installed in 2014.

In 2015, the Transport Research Institute at Edinburgh Napier University conducted some independent research on the impacts of the Sheriffhall scheme. The researchers concluded that the installation of the intelligent road studs has resulted in:

A reduction in lane transgression activity across nearly all vehicle types and maneuvers; A significant reduction in transgression rate (>50%) for medium-sized vehicles; The studs having a positive impact even during daylight hours; Lane transgression rates decreasing as traffic flow increases; Driver behavior found to be more predictable and consistent post-installation.

The CIHT judges commented, “The panel was impressed by this solution to poor lane discipline on a large six-arm roundabout leading to high collision frequency. Benefits are strong with ‘after’ casualty rates better than half those previously recorded, and improvements in all conditions. There is good scope for application to other locations where similar problems occur.”

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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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