Junction Warning Success in Derbyshire

Innovative Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) from SWARCO Traffic Ltd are helping to reduce accidents at a notorious road junction in Derbyshire after the County Council decided to take action.

A crossing on the busy A619 Troughbrook junction near Chesterfield had been the scene of a number of incidents in recent years, prompting the Council to find a permanent accident-prevention solution. Having worked with SWARCO before, it turned to the company again to tailor a new system to address its needs.

SWARCO recommended a system comprising two VAS with above ground virtual loop detection. Thermal imaging cameras detect the heat signature of vehicles waiting to cross the main road. Once a vehicle occupies a pre-set detection zone for a certain period, a fixed warning message is displayed to alert oncoming vehicles of traffic turning. In addition, when an oncoming vehicle exceeds a pre-set speed threshold, a warning message is also displayed.

Derek Williamson, Head of Sales and Business Development at SWARCO says a particular challenge was installing the system in extreme winter weather: “Large traffic volumes along the route meant the works had to be carried out during off peak working hours, and we planned the installation to cause the least amount of disruption as possible. Even with the bad weather, the project was still completed within eight weeks.”

The LED signs and control cabinet are hard wired with new replacement cable throughout, utilising existing ductwork. The Council carried out its own Civils works and SWARCO provided traffic management throughout the project.

The system is managed remotely using the SWARCO remote monitoring system already installed for Derbyshire CC. The installation of a controller cabinet also enables easy maintenance with access available at street level, thereby negating the need for expensive temporary traffic management and creating a safer working environment for engineers.

Derek says that the use of above ground detection was also an advantage: “It removes the issues previously experienced with having to replace costly inductive loops caused by road surfaces deteriorating or being replaced. The thermal imaging of the cameras also provides a much more reliable detection rate of vehicles than that of previous video detection cameras.”

Mark Hewitt (MCIHT) within the Traffic & Safety Section of DCC is delighted with the result: “The A619 Chesterfield Road at its junction with Troughbrook Road and Inkersall Green Road has a history of accidents,” he explains.

“The electronic junction warning signs play a key role by advising approaching vehicles of turning traffic at the junctions. In addition to this, the system also advises approaching traffic if their speed is above a certain threshold, helping to reduce vehicle speeds.”

Mark has worked with SWARCO previously on various schemes: “SWARCO provides an effective, durable and reliable product which is always customised to our needs,” he adds. “I look forward to working with the team again in the future.”

34 VAS Installed in Brent to improve road safety

To support an accident reduction programme co-ordinated by Brent Council, SWARCO Traffic Ltd has installed Vehicle Activated Speed signs (VAS) at key locations across the borough where significant numbers of accidents have occurred.

This particular project is aimed at reducing collisions, casualties, road danger and accidents that involve powered two wheelers (P2W – primarily motorcycles and mopeds) throughout the borough, in line with the Government’s road safety strategy to reduce the number of road traffic accidents nationally.

According to the national THINK Road Safety Campaign, injuries to motorcyclists are out of proportion to all other RTCs: despite being just 1% of total road traffic they account for 19% of all road user deaths.

Individual accidents were studied to identify patterns and the main causes of accidents involving P2Ws. Through analysis, locations which may benefit from accident reduction measures were identified.

“One of the most common causes of accidents involving P2W is high speeds,” explains Chhaganlal J Dabhi, Project Engineer for Brent Council’s Highways and Infrastructure Service. “And high speeds can cause severe injuries and fatalities, particularly for a motorbike rider who is the most exposed and vulnerable. However, we also know that one of the most effective measures to reduce accidents can be to inform all road users of the hazards and prevailing dangers, and advise them accordingly.”

To limit the impact on traffic management on the roads, all installation work on the vehicle actuated signs (VAS) was carried out at night.

SWARCO has installed 34 VAS, most of which are fixed to existing light columns (and Bouygues-supplied and installed the mains power isolator switches), whilst some are solar powered. The signs are CE marked for quality and safety at the highest level and they are built with SWARCO’s latest LED’s. This LED technology gives the greatest optical output which provides dramatically increased reliability whilst also reducing power consumption.

Each VAS has a pre-set threshold speed, appropriate for the location, and when activated by an approaching vehicle over the threshold the speed is displayed along with either an instruction of ‘slow down’ or a ‘sad face’ in red. For vehicles driving within the speed limits, a ‘happy face’ or ‘thank you’ is shown in green.

Chhaganlal says Brent Council is committed to the continued reduction of personal injury accidents: “Whilst we wait to see what the data reveals in terms of the signs’ effectiveness, we are pleased that the project is bringing about more general awareness to all road users about the potential dangers to motorcyclists and reducing accidents overall. If these signs help to prevent a death or serious injury on the Borough’s roads then it is money well spent.”

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The Smart Urban messenger boasts the benefits of the Smart City Messenger's small footprint, allowing for deployment across size restricted sites.

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Use the Smart Urban messenger to display messages to high speeds roads, or to simply convey more information in an urban environment. This flexible solution can be combined UTMC systems or with our asset management system, Zephyr, for remote message setting, timetabling, GPS Tracking and even to remotely view power consumption, for piece of mind.

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  • SWARCO's Junction Warning success in Derbyshire

  • Introducing, the Smart Urban Messenger

  • Improving road safety in Brent Borough with installation of 34 VAS

  • SWARCO's most efficient MVAS yet