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Three important questions to ask when improving road safety

Active road studs are a solar powered alternative to traditional retroreflective road studs. They clearly delineate the road ahead and so reduce night time accident rates. Our SolarLite Active Road Studs allow drivers to see ten times further than traditional studs. Watch how the two compare below.

We’ve been investigating the effect of our active road studs on accident rates since they were first deployed on UK highways over a decade ago and we’re confident they have led to reductions. What we didn’t know until recently was how road users felt about them. Having conducted several road user surveys, we now have an answer to the key questions you may have been asking yourself about active road studs.

1) Do active road studs reduce night time accidents?

Yes, our SolarLite studs reduce night time road accidents by over 70 percent*. We’ve established this figure using before and after accident rates where SolarLite road studs have been installed.

Furthermore, research conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory found active road studs resulted in better lane discipline, reduced likelihood of head-on collisions, more consistent braking and drivers feeling safer. They also found that, although drivers report feeling as though they are driving faster, their speed was not significantly different to when they were driving with traditional retroreflective road studs. The feeling of driving faster was put down to the visual effect of the studs remaining visible in the driver’s peripheral vision as they drove past.

So, if you have an issue with night time road safety on your network, it is worth considering active road studs as part of the solution.

2) Do Active road studs improve driver confidence?

In the past three months we’ve conducted multiple surveys across the UK seeking responses from residents who live near to recent SolarLite installations. With over 1,000 responses to date, we’re now able to share with you how road users feel about the studs.

Prior to the installation of active road studs, only 38 percent of respondents reported feeling ‘reasonably’ or ‘totally’ safe driving these roads at night. This shot up to an average of 86 percent after the installations, showing that drivers feel much safer driving at night on a road with active road studs.

Furthermore, the majority (87 percent) of respondents felt night time visibility of the road layout had been improved through active road studs.

Given the chance to comment, road users expressed their appreciation for the active road studs:

“It’s so much clearer now, even during travelling in the dark and wet periods we’ve had recently. The exits are more visible too. It’s more like a runway than a road now. It’s a vast improvement.”

“As well as safety, it's a more enjoyable experience to drive on these sections of roads at night”

“It is a pleasure to drive along there now. If you have never driven around there before it at least shows you the contour of the road rather than a surprise at the top of the road!”

“Excellent” “Fantastic Work” “Mint”

Almost all comments (94 percent) were as positive as these. We also received many suggestions for places that could benefit from future installation.

3) Why should you care what road users think?

Gaining feedback directly from road users for the first time we’ve been overwhelmed by how positively they feel about our Active road studs. It’s easy for everyone to get bogged down in the details around accident rates, and cost benefit analysis of safety solutions and forget about the real impact they have on the day-to-day lives of your road users.

Given our company mission is to harness intelligence, inform decisions and influence behaviour, helping people make better journeys, it’s important to also consult road users to find out what they think. They are, after all, the end client for all of us working in the highways industry. It isn’t a particularly glamourous industry, but it is one that makes a difference to people’s day-to-day lives; sometimes in big ways—when an accident can be avoided, sometimes small ways—when people feel less nervous driving at night. Either way we’re delighted to now be able to present both the empirical and the emotional effect of this solution.

* SolarLite road studs have helped to reduce accident rates by over 70%. Ref: Based on a reduction in accidents over a 2-year period on A143 Haddiscoe, Norfolk and a reduction in accidents on A4226 Barry over a 3-year period.

Author: Michelle C |Date Published: January 2019

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