Costain awarded MIDAS technology contract by Highways England


Infrastructure construction, engineering and services contractor Costain has been awarded a contract by Highways England (HE) to supply Motorway Incident Detection and Automated Signaling (MIDAS) technology systems to help improve road user safety.

Under the contract, Costain will supply 1,500 MIDAS outstation units over a two-year period. MIDAS is the Highways England system that uses road sensors, primarily electromagnetic induction loops, to detect traffic congestion and display information on variable message signs (VMS) to alert motorists on the country’s motorway network and major trunk roads. The systems will be supplied from Costain’s technology center in Yatton, Somerset.

The MIDAS distributed network of sensors are typically placed 1,640ft (500m) apart and are designed to alert the local RCC (regional control center) to real-time traffic flow and average speeds; and in ATM (active traffic management) zones, such as the agency’s smart motorway network, to provide information for VMS units and set advisory speed limits, along with mandatory speed limits in ATM sections, with little human intervention.

Companies, such as RAC, TomTom, Here and Google use this traffic flow data to inform road users via HE’s HALOGEN reporting system. HE is currently trialling radar technology from Wavetronix, and magneto-resistive wireless sensors by Clearview Intelligence, for possible future addition to the MIDAS network.

“We have a strong track record of supplying this technology to our client, having previously supplied MIDAS units for installation on the M1, M5 and M6,” noted Darren James, managing director for Costain’s infrastructure division. “Technology is playing an important role in improving the driving experience for motorists on the UK highways network, and our technology teams are playing an integral role in this.”

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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).