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Can pothole scanners provide smoother roads and improve road safety?

March 12th

Here at Clearview Trafficwe’ve been keeping up to date with news on road safety, road safety solutions and the state of roads in Britain.

We came across this interesting articlearound the subject of potholes, and the introduction of pothole scanners.

We support the idea of pothole scanners in principle, as anything that supports more timely preventative maintenance and reduces the likelihood and severity of road accidents (and therefore disruption to road users) should be applauded.

Anything that can minimise road closures or more costly roadworks is a good thing for road safety in Britain, whilst prevention is better – and often cheaper – than cure.

So a great idea in principle, but how viable are they? It prompts a number of practical questions about their deployment on our roads:

  • How quick are they at scanning the road?
  • How do they recognise deal with surface debris?
  • If slow, how much disruption will this cause?
  • How many will be needed to cover the UK road network?
  • Who will pay for this investment and it is viable?

There are lots of different ways in gathering this data – ranging from pothole reporting apps to new technology being trialled at the moment that uses fibre optic cable sitting alongside the road connected to microphones that measure disturbances in the signal, resulting from vibrations of the road surface – and interpreting these as potholes or cracks in the road surface.

Another option in the future of the connected car and road safety would be for this sensing to be carried out in-vehicle, and somehow centrally reported: even just equipping the millions of public sector fleet vehicles with sensing equipment and then pushing this back to a central system that could calculate levels of wear and tear and highlight critical failures in the road, and help inform and organise maintenance work teams, could save the country millions in temporary repairs and claims from the public for damage to their vehicles.

We can start using the vehicles as the sensors, and many already have this level of technology already built-in.

To find out more about our road safety solutions, please get in touch here.

Author: |Date Published: March 2015

Links: Route Safety

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