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How do we improve road safety solutions in the long-term?

At Clearview Traffic, we noted that the DfT has recently updated the road safety comparisons website with the 2012 data from the Stats 19 database of casualties, road traffic and road lengths, and residential population data.

Whilst it shows progress being made, there is clearly more to be done in preventing the needless loss of life that still occurs all too often.

The Road Safety Foundation have long-advocated a series of simple measures that can be used to improve road safety, and their 2012 Engineering a Safer Future report highlights the simplicity of measures undertaken at the most improved roads, which includes road studs as a form of providing enhanced road markings.

What does the report tell us?

Taking a closer look at the data in the report from Britain’s Top 10 persistently higher risk roads between 2006-10, it highlights that on average over 75% of the serious and fatal accidents occur at junctions, either as a result of running off the road at bends, or from head-on collisions.

Whilst it’s not clear from the data at what time of day these accidents occur, data from previous years and other studies has shown that a disproportionately high percentage of these accidents happen at night.

There is no silver bullet as a solution, and in most cases a combination of measures are required to deliver a sustainable change in both driver behaviour and resulting accident statistics. It is critical to think about the long-term benefits, and not choose the quickest fix based on price.

Passive road studs

For example, road studs can be an incredibly effective measure. However, even here there are two main types of road studs to consider.

The traditional passive ‘cat’s eye’ type of road stud, which uses retro-reflective material and relies on the headlight beams of oncoming vehicles to alert road users of the road layout ahead. These certainly have their place in the market, and can work well as additional measures combined with options such as white lining and street lighting in built-up areas.

However, they only last around 18 months before needing to be replaced. They also rely on the headlight beam of the vehicle, which at best stretches forward about 90m in front of the vehicle. They don’t give the driver significant advance information of changes in the road layout ahead.

For example, at 62mph, it takes just 3.2 seconds to cover a 90m distance.

Astucia SolarLite road studs
Image left illustrates what the road may look like with retro-reflective studs, photo on right shows actual layout with Astucia SolarLite studs

What difference does an active road stud make?

The second type of road stud is the active road stud, such as the Astucia SolarLite that does not rely on vehicle headlights and instead produces light output from in-built LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in the stud itself.

These active road studs are solar-powered and provide an average lifespan of 8-10 years’ continuous operation. The light output they generate extends visibility tenfold up to 900m, giving road users an almost tenfold increase reaction time.

This is best highlighted in the visual illustration above. With traditional retro-reflective road studs, there would be no indication that the road ahead (the A4128 in the illustration) would include a sharp right-hand bend. This is a prime example of the road layout that results in many ‘run offs’.

The benefits of active Astucia SolarLite active road studs

Since implementing the Astucia SolarLite active road studs on the A4128, fatal and serious accidents have been reduced by 89% compared to the same period prior to installation.

With Winter evenings now drawing in, and more road users driving in extended hours of darkness, we need to be choosing measures that keep traffic moving, and that are proven to save lives.

More benefits of our Astucia SolarLite can be found here. In a detailed White Paper.

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

Author: |Date Published: November 2013

Links: Route Safety

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