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Improving junction safety - unique requirements require unique solutions

Quite rightly, there is a lot of ongoing attention paid to road safety figures and how to drive down the number of incidents taking place each year.

It continues to be an area of major concern to local authorities and national policy makers that 67 people are killed or seriously injured on UK roads every day (based on latest figures in the Road Safety Foundation British EuroRAP Report 2015).

While there are many reasons why incidents occur, it stands to reason that finding trends on where they occur, and tackling these first will result in the greatest reduction to the figures.

In reviewing the report, the largest single cause of serious injury on 'A' roads are crashes at junctions (35%).

It may be easy to recognise why incidents occur at junctions--an unexpected change in the road layout, other drivers on the road heading in different directions, judgment calls to be made on speed and timing of use of the road etc., but it's not an area that is so easy to solve.

With no two junctions designed and used exactly the same as each other, authorities and road operators continue to be challenged as to how to make these schemes safer.

Improving a junction's safety record requires a clear understanding of the issues posed by the location, the behaviour of its users and the application of years of experience to determine what kind of solution would help improve the safety of the junction as a whole. This could include a combination of enhanced lighting, new road surfaces, better delineation of the road layout, clearer road markings, warning signs with VMS/VAS, speed reduction techniques and so on.

Here at Clearview, improving junction safety is a key area of focus and we have been at the forefront of some very innovative and award winning schemes that reduce the number of incidents occurring around junctions.

Ideas such as how to reduce lane transgression on roundabouts via integration of our intelligent road studs with the traffic signals--lighting up the correct lane to stay in when the traffic lights turn green. This idea was applied to the Sheriffhall Roundabout in Edinburgh and has been recognised with four industry awards in 2016.

Or our award winning solution to enhancing the visibility of the upcoming junction on the A41 at Chetwynd by monitoring car speeds and activating a slowdown sign whilst at the same time increasing the brightness of our road side studs whenever a speeding vehicle is registered.

Utlising a combination of ideas to create a unique solution is something we are used to doing.

Such as reducing speeding traffic through the town of Fairlie in Scotland by combining speed monitoring with slowdown signs and the triggering of a red traffic light at the next junction to carefully slow down fast drivers. Or the ability to monitor and recognise when a long wheel base vehicle is going to cross a dual-carriage way and combine this with a warning sign for other road users, such as on the A590 at the Foulshaw Lane junction in Cumbria.

And it's this kind of innovative and combined thinking that needs to continue to happen if we are to address road safety dangers at the many types of junctions we have throughout our road network.

Author: Andrew R |Date Published: October 2016

Links: Route Safety

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