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Austerity versus enhancing the user experience in road planning – is it possible to do both?

More than enough has been written over the past few months regarding the political divide between the Conservatives’ austerity strategy and the ‘new/old’ Labour perspective on public spending, but it does raise questions around how best to approach planning for future road developments and improvement schemes.


Is it all about having to make cuts in the short-term, or is there room for enhancement of the user’s experience as well? As leading providers of smart traffic solutions, we believe both can be achieved.

Regular drivers on the M1 can always tell when they enter and exit Nottinghamshire due to the provision of roadside lighting along the regions stretch of motorway.

And whilst we don’t have the official stats to hand we can only presume there are compelling user behaviour and enhanced driving experience reasons why this was put in place and has continued to be provided during the past few years of austerity.

It seems like a good example of thinking of the greater public good, even in tough economic times.

But there are many instances where road lighting, in the name of austerity, has recently been switched off. Add to this, the roads where it’s not possible to having lighting in place due to environmental or infrastructure reasons, then it’s in these instances where road studs and markings really need to step up to the mark, and do a good job of providing enhanced levels of user guidance and an improved driving experience. Anything that enhances road safety is, we believe, a priority for local authorities in the UK.

Visibility is key to ensuring that road users have the information in front of them to ensure that they are driving in a manner that is appropriate to the road layout and conditions. As providers of innovative road safety solutions, our key focus is to provide intelligent transport systems that save lives.

Traditional road studs rely on a headlight beam, with visibility limited to around 90m at best, but Clearview’s SolarLite road studs are LED lit, work in all-weather conditions, and extend road visibility by up to 900m.

This gives the road user an extended view of the road beyond their headlights, providing more reaction time, which has been proven to help reduce road casualties by up to 70%.

Which is great news for users where the studs are installed – but how can they also address austerity budget issues facing local authorities and councils?

The remit of the local authority or council is to provide the tax paying public with best experience and value for money in any given situation.

So if we take a look at life-time costs of putting active road studs in place, there starts to be some compelling reasons to consider user experience over the longer-term.

Not only do Clearview’s road studs greatly enhance the user’s experience of driving along a road, they also have a much longer working life than ‘regular’ reflective road studs. So costs can be written down over longer-term timescales.

That means in budget discussions it can quickly get to a point where the longer term value for money, combined with the enhanced user experience gives the tax-payer a much better return on investment, even in a period where austerity is king.

Perhaps it’s something worth keeping in mind when specifying the requirements for your next round of road development and improvements? Our traffic safety experts can assist you further.

If you would like to explore these thoughts further please contact us here or post a comment below.

Author: |Date Published: December 2015

Links: Route Safety

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