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Shining a light on greater budget efficiency with active road studs

This time of the year new local authority budgets are available and the weather allows for much needed road repairs, maintenance and improvements. Juggling budgets is a difficult job, and the battle to prioritise spend in an age of continuing budget pressure is no fun, but we would urge local authorities to keep looking for ways to continually improve not only road conditions but also road safety within their allocated budgets.

With the continued devolution of budget responsibility from central to local government, priorities need to be set and getting the biggest bang for your buck must be factored into your thinking. And now is the time to action the plans so that installation can happen during the summer months, ready in time to save lives as the days grow shorter and the nights draw in later in the year.

At times like this, sticking with what you know may seem like the right and easy choice, but tough times call for innovative thinking and making sure you get value for money. So, while considering a new idea may feel like a risk, the reality is that a calculated change can lead to far greater rewards.

Knowledge of what options are available to you in terms of road safety best practice, which can also sit comfortably within the broader issue of road maintenance, is essential to ensure the best-informed decision is made.

Who is pushing for road improvements?

Demands on road improvements are constant and come from many angles--local government, central government, national campaigners, local pressure groups, concerned citizens and so on. Each group may want a similar outcome, but perhaps are driven from different perspectives. Hence, the need to combine requirements into a coherent plan for improvements that covers factors such as safety, congestion, predictability and changing driver behaviour if required.

So, what is available that can be considered to help - both from a careful budget management and road improvement perspective?

Reducing intrusive street furniture while retaining safety on the road is a valid aim. Solar powered road studs, with up to 900m of visibility, can provide greater central and edge delineation on roads. Being solar powered removes the need for electrical power connections and so opens up use in both urban and rural environments.

Using these kinds of studs consistently along a stretch of road (not just as a one off) not only provides greater visibility of upcoming changes in the road layout, but also provides a consistent reference point for the driver along their journey. A great example of this can be seen on the A1 as it heads into Scotland.

This kind of improvement can be installed quickly and easily as part of ongoing road maintenance schemes or as a separate job and with an extended life expectancy, the overall lifetime costs are less than traditional retro-reflective (cats eye) road studs.

Intelligent combination solutions

Another way to get a bigger bang for your buck is by creating junction safety schemes that combine various technology, such as road studs that are linked to speed monitoring and warning signals to help improve awareness and change behaviour. These can be used along dangerous stretches of road or to slow speeds through urban areas. Examples of such installations include the A41 at Chetwynd and the village of Fairlie.

And let's not forget cyclists and pedestrians. Creating greater awareness of cycle lanes or pedestrian footpaths through edge delineation can help all road users and can be installed as part of the creation or improvement plans.

If you want to understand how you can drive greater value for money whilst improving the road infrastructure get in touch .

Author: Andrew R |Date Published: May 2017

Links: Route Safety Cycle Safety

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