SWARCO helps reduce bridge strikes at London hotspot

Six full colour full matrix electronic warning signs from SWARCO TRAFFIC Ltd. 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 

Mark Huband, Network Rail Route Asset Manager, said: “Every time a lorry hits this bridge it causes disruption to thousands of passengers and this reduction is a step in the right direction. With a railway network as busy and complex as ours, knock-on delays can spread very quickly.”

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.

Mark Hickmott, Head of Projects at SWARCO Traffic added: “This is a tangible example of how intelligent systems, intelligently installed, can have a dramatic impact in improving highways efficiency and keeping people moving whether on the road or on the railway.”

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