Innovative warning signs reduce accident rates

Innovative Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS)  are helping to reduce accidents at a notorious road junction in Derbyshire, United Kingdom, 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.

Recommending 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 at SWARCO TRAFFIC Ltd. 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.