VMS Parking Guidance for shopping centre

SWARCO Traffic has installed an innovative new parking guidance system at one of Northern Ireland’s premier shopping centres, Abbey Centre, Belfast. The investment is part of a major rebrand and redevelopment to attract new retailers and further enhance the customer experience.

A combination of seven Variable Message Signs (VMS) and seven car parking count sensors were commissioned and installed by SWARCO as part of the contract. The technologies combine to alert visitors to where spaces are available, helping to reduce congestion, improve convenience, and ease the customer journey. Abbey Centre attracts some 115,000 visitors every week, and provides 1,265 free car parking spaces.

The signs and sensors were strategically installed both outside and inside the car park to direct drivers appropriately and ensure they park safely and efficiently. The sensors also automatically report to the relevant VMS on how many spaces are available at each of the centre’s car parks, bringing greater convenience.

Mark Stewart, Centre Manager at Abbey Centre, says the installation was at a key retail period and therefore required the utmost efficiency: “SWARCO designed, installed and managed the process seamlessly with all works occurring out of hours to minimise inconvenience to shoppers, retailers and all stakeholders.

“The entire process was effortless – the company’s experience knowledge and enthusiasm for the project was apparent from the get go,” he adds.

Additionally, SWARCO implemented its PGS Management software that communicates directly to the centre’s management via GPRS. Key strategic information is made available to inform the client’s decision making, and ensuring they are aware of the centre’s peak times – so that the messages displayed can be amended accordingly.

Jeremy Cowling, Managing Director at SWARCO, says the installation ran very smoothly: “The team installed and commissioned all of the signage and detectors over four days, working overnight to complete the project ahead of schedule,” he says. “Now installed, Abbey Centre has been able to swiftly move on to undertake the rest of its upgrades as planned.”

Mobile Success at HAUC Show

Tony Logan, Sales Manager represented the company at the Anglian and London HAUC show on 24th May, he was there with our Smart City Messenger Trailer sign as well as our Moveable Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS) providing a totally mobile solution. We showcased the capabilities of the new Trailer Sign which is capable of displaying full colour images and pictograms, even displaying how photo images looked on them. With the addition of the fuel cell energy source to recharge the batteries, this can run year round with completely unattended operation.

SWARCO helps reduce bridge strikes in London

Six full colour full matrix electronic warning signs from SWARCO Traffic have helped Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) to slash the number of oversized lorries hitting a notorious railway bridge on London’s South Circular by more than a third since being installed last summer.

In the six-month period from January – July 2016 before the new measures were introduced there were 11 crashes at the Thurlow Park Bridge in Tulse Hill. Since the new measures, in the past six months, there have only been seven incidents – and only one in the last four months.

At one point the bridge was being hit on average almost twice a month, causing more than 218 hours of delays to Southern and Thameslink passengers between July 2015 and July 2016.
The full matrix signs work by detecting vehicles that are too high, prompting an electronic warning to be displayed. They are installed either side of the bridge, giving ample warning for oversized vehicles. The signs use energy-efficient LEDs for enhanced visual impact and to give early and clear information, particularly for non-English speaking drivers.

SWARCO’s optical solution significantly reduces power consumption of the LEDs. Lower power also means that the service life of other electrical and electronic components is extended, and the LEDs do not suffer from any decrease in light intensity or colour change throughout their life cycle.

Khurram Khan Jadoom, Senior Traffic Engineer at TfL, said SWARCO Traffic’s signs are multi-purpose: “Not only do they meet the demands of TfL, but the signs are highly reliable and feedback from the general public has been extremely positive,” adding “On top of this, the signs are variable so we are able to use them for alternative purposes to provide further traffic information to road users. This is a great benefit to us.” The signs are integrated with TfL’s London Streets and Traffic Control Centre for full monitoring and control.



  • Mobile success at HAUC Show

  • SWARCO Traffic provides VMS and Parking Guidance to Major shopping centre in Northern Ireland

  • SWARCO helps reduce bridge strikes at London hotspot

  • SWARCO appoints new Sales Manager for Smart City Messenger