BLOG: Making the Switch to a Brighter Future

This week Clearview Intelligence has been making industry headlines for its part in delivering the first dynamic delineation scheme at a major motorway junction on England’s strategic road network.

Working in partnership with Highways England, 4way Consulting and Balfour Beattie Mott MacDonald, Clearview installed 175 hardwired LED road studs at Switch Island in Merseyside. Designed to enhance delineation and reduce the risk of lane transgressions, the studs are synced with the traffic signals to automatically illuminate upon a green sequence and turn off once it completes.

The concept is simple; the studs literally light the road ahead to guide drivers safely through the junction. So why is that such a straightforward notion is still considered novel, rather than the norm?

Breaking the accident trend
Trying to navigate a busy multi-lane motorway junction can be challenging enough, but even more so when you – or the driver next to you – isn’t sure what lane to be in. Drifting across lanes, interjecting across other vehicles or braking suddenly are all common behavioural actions associated with drivers who find themselves confused by a lack of clear delineation. And that was the reality of Switch Island in Merseyside.
The intersection is used by 90,000 vehicles daily and provides the point where the M57, M58 and three A roads all meet. It’s a busy strategic network so needs to operate safely and efficiently without the risks or delays associated with accidents, which were occurring at an average rate of once a fortnight.

Crossing the line
Previously, like most intersections, drivers were guided through the junction by traditional white lineage which overlapped at the points where the carriageways crossed over each other. At best, this proved confusing for drivers. At worst, the high volume of traffic travelling over the lines caused it to blacken, fade and wear away.

Having undertaken a similar scheme at Sheriffhall Roundabout in Edinburgh – which won six national industry awards for road safety – the decision was made to install dynamic delineation at Switch Island. Upon the traffic signal turning green, the studs automatically illuminate to provide lane guidance in place of the traditional white lines. They then turn off once the sequence is complete. Using hi powered LEDs , the studs can be seen ten times further than traditional retro reflective studs and are effective in all conditions – particularly in rain, fog or darkness when visibility of the road ahead is most hindered.

A “brilliant” bright idea
The studs, which form part of a series of improvements to the junction, went live last Thursday, but already positive feedback from social media users has included:

• “Brilliant innovation. These really ought to be used on spiral roundabouts and ANY junction where there is a deviation from the basic principles outlined in the Highway Code”
• “Oh wow! These look great”
• “This is a great idea and any tool to make this junction safer is worth the money. Let’s hope this reduces the accidents”

As the target audience, such positive feedback from motorists provide the greatest level of endorsement particularly as the UK’s highways are often subject to so much criticism.

Whilst it is easy for us, Highways England or Balfour Beattie Mott MacDonald to quote industry facts and statistics about the benefits of dynamic delineation, the real testimony comes from the drivers who use the junction day after day, week after week. And if they can see the benefits after just one week, why is it taking the rest of the highways industry so long to catch on?

The studs, which form part of a series of improvements to the junction, went live last Thursday, but already positive feedback from social media users has included:

• “Brilliant innovation. These really ought to be used on spiral roundabouts and ANY junction where there is a deviation from the basic principles outlined in the Highway Code”
• “Oh wow! These look great”
• “This is a great idea and any tool to make this junction safer is worth the money. Let’s hope this reduces the accidents”

As the target audience, such positive feedback from motorists provide the greatest level of endorsement particularly as the UK’s highways are often subject to so much criticism.

Whilst it is easy for us, Highways England or Balfour Beattie Mott MacDonald to quote industry facts and statistics about the benefits of dynamic delineation, the real testimony comes from the drivers who use the junction day after day, week after week.

And if they can see the benefits after just one week, why is it taking the rest of the highways industry so long to catch on?

https://vimeo.com/294108564

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