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Are retro-reflective passive cat’s eyes a false economy?

Cats Eyes

For some time, the traditional passive cat’s eye style of road stud (which relies on a vehicle’s headlight beam to hit a piece of reflective material and for that light to be reflected back at the vehicle driver) has been a popular measure to try and improve road safety.

However, whilst these products may seem attractive initially because of their relatively inexpensive price tag, when you consider the frequency with which they need to be replaced because they’ve come loose from the road surface or are no longer functional – often within 18 months – then the justifications for their use in many instances needs to be questioned.

Cats Eyes infographic

Active road studs light the way ahead

By contrast, the innovative design of the Astucia SolarLite active road studs offer a smart, safe, sustainable, cost-effective and proven alternative to traditional passive road stud markings:


The studs automatically detect ambient light levels and intelligently switch on the in-built ultra bright light emitting diodes (LEDs) when light levels fall below a defined threshold – highlighting road hazards without relying on headlight illumination.


They increase road layout visibility up to 900m, around a tenfold increase compared to traditional passive reflective road studs, and remain visible even in adverse road conditions such as fog, rain and road surface spray.


They harvest solar energy, achieving full charge in the road stud with only four hours of bright daylight – and then providing over 240 hours of capacity, regardless of weather conditions. This enables the road studs to operate reliably, all night, 365 days a year – making them ideal for use as an effective road safety measure where streetlight reduction schemes are in operation.


They actively reduce night-time accidents and with an average operational life of 8-10 years, offering continuous, durable and maintenance-free performance – whereas, passive studs would normally require regular maintenance and replacement several times over during that same period.


Their use has been shown to produce a demonstrable reduction in night-time accidents of up to 72%.

Even more compelling, their use offers a sound social return on investment, as they’ve been shown to improve driver behaviour and to calm traffic.

This means fewer accidents, less traffic disruption and congestion, fewer losses of life and limbs, and a reduction in the human cost of family trauma, bereavement and breakdown.

No monetary value can be placed on these priceless benefits.

The short-term view says “save budget now”, but ultimately this will cost lives in the future. With each fatality on the UK’s roads costing the economy in excess of £1.87m, even one life saved or one accident resulting in serious injury (on average costing £200,000) prevented provides overwhelming justification for their implementation.

To read more on how LEDs can prevent accidents on our roads, see this previous blog post on the subject.

To find out more about saving lives using the Astucia SolarLite, please feel free to get in touch here.

Author: |Date Published: November 2013

Links: Route Safety

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