Oxfordshire-based traffic technology company Clearview Intelligence is highlighting two UK road safety projects that make use of customized systems to reduce collisions at previous accident blackspots.
While congestion is a recurring problem, the issue is compounded when accidents occur on the network and the resulting delays are made worse by the volume of traffic trying to pass by. Road operators need to focus resources on the most dangerous locations first, which means knowing where the accident hotspots are, and putting in place appropriate safety solutions.
The added challenge is that each situation is unique because of its road layout, topographical considerations, volume of traffic, time of day and other factors. This means safety answers are not necessarily ‘out of the box’ systems.
Clearview has been working with several UK road operators and agencies to develop specific safety solutions where a combination of ideas come together to create a more effective result. One of the company’s cited examples is on the A701 in Scotland, where several serious and fatal incidents have occurred near the village of Beattock, and a particularly hazardous junction was identified where the B7076 intersects the trunk road on a sweeping bend.
Following a safety report, it was recommended that a vehicle activated sign (VAS) be installed on the southbound lane, which is activated when a vehicle is detected on the B7076 waiting to turn. The same solution also shows a ‘slow down’ warning on the same sign when drivers are detected exceeding a set speed threshold on the A701.
Clearview developed a solution with the client Scotland Transerv, where the VAS is activated when vehicles are detected ahead of the stop line on the B7076 and on the right-hand turn lane on the A701. Inductive loops are combined with Clearview’s M680 Vehicle Count and Classification system to provide the detection, and given the rural location of the junction, the company installed two solar panels: one to power the M680 and another to power the VAS. The new signage ensures drivers adhere to the speed limit, and approach the junction with caution.
Together with clients Kier and Highways England, Clearview has designed a similar long vehicle detection system that triggers a VAS on the A590 in Cumbria. Traffic turning right onto the A590 from Foulshaw Lane often use the central reservation area, and over the past five years the location has seen several fatal and serious incidents involving turning trucks.
Clearview had to solve several issues, including no mains power, and that the VAS would be positioned some 984ft (300m) away, requiring a remote triggering system. The loops and M680 Vehicle Detection System are powered using the company’s 80W MtPole Solar Panel Roadside Cabinet, which is fitted with a GSM antenna for radio communication with the VAS.
A bespoke programming solution was also developed to enable the M680 to only trigger the VAS when a long wheelbase vehicle was at the junction, allowing for stop/start waiting traffic. Since the deployment there has been a noticeable change in drivers’ speed and behavior.