Essentially, I look after the Highways England business stream at Clearview. This comprises of:
I am just a roadside engineer who got fed up with the cold and wet!
I started in the ITS sector in 2009 as an on-road engineer providing installation and commissioning for the Highways Agency on the West Midland tech mac.
This gave me a solid understanding of the roadside infrastructure and I soon developed into delivering whole projects for the client.
Through the last decade, I have been in the fortunate position to be given opportunities to work on some high-profile schemes for the client, including the first connected vehicle trials on the strategic road network.
Over the last 3 years I have been consumed by the innovation side of the industry and with my previous team developed some great innovations for Highways England.
These include a wearable technology proof of concept delivering vital information about workers and also alerting them to imminent dangers in that site location, be that vehicle incursion or people and plant interface.
That brings me up to the move to Clearview in the summer of 2019. Moving from a large corporate beast is a tough decision with the comfort of numbers around you but I was ready for a new challenge and a small SME where you can be a little more spontaneous with ideas has been a perfect fit. The culture is great, and everyone helps each other.
Helping Clearview build on its historical successes within the industry, we are now entering a new era as a solutions provider and the implementation of our solutions into everyday life to keep the travelling public safer and more informed than ever before.
This year will be a tough one. We have had the strategic review of smart motorways and with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, we could lose a quarter of site access for our hard infrastructure solutions.
This does give us one advantage; that we can develop our cloud-based Insight software application further.
I would like to achieve a couple of things, firstly a large M100 magnetometer installation to help prove to the industry that the system works on a large scale and that we have a viable alternative detection solution.
Secondly, with the new and emerging tech that we are working on to enable connected vehicles, we will soon be able to show that we can add functionality to our road safety solutions to help bridge the gap between connected and non-connected infrastructure.
This is the question on everyone’s lips right now but the key and number one for me is Education.
We as people in the industry just go along and understand changes to the tech on the road, the layouts of the road and how we should travel. We need to educate the public more about how to use the road network and the solutions that are installed should be the last line of defense.
Secondly, it’s the elephant in the room. Stationary Vehicle Detection. This is a huge undertaking by Highways England to now retrofit SVD into the network and we should be solving this by using infrastructure and tech that’s already on the side of the road where possible.
Lastly, it’s about sustainability and how we can provide solutions fit for the future that is leaner, greener and smarter than now.
We are moving into a world where younger generations don’t drive, they call an uber. People are having a real interest in their impact on the world.
Technology solutions moving forward need to be low power on renewable sources of energy – use a wireless network architecture to reduce the amount of land take and digging required on large projects.
Start to incorporate the connectivity without infrastructure at all, as we will get to a place where we have the naked highway and all information is provided to the driver in the vehicle or directly to self-driving cars’ internal systems.
Funding to SMEs is important not only to help with new ideas but to develop talent within the businesses that it supports.
Businesses like Clearview have some amazingly innovative and industry-changing ideas but without the huge funding of a large corporate entity, it is not always possible to nurture these ideas without help and support of funding opportunities.
With the likes of Innovate UK and the road safety trust grant, funding opens up the opportunities to work on these ideas and projects in a much quicker way.
Highways England, for instance, with their designated funds are effectively saying we are open for business. They want funding to create revolutionary ideas that will help support the safety aspects on the road and for the workforce, new and emerging tech to keep the customers informed and new ideas that help with delivering the new large-scale projects.