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Studs Light The Way At Sheriffhall Roundabout in Edinburgh

In early 2014, Clearview Traffic were approached by BEAR Scotland to work with them on an innovative accident reduction project designed to improve safety at the Sheriffhall roundabout, a complex 6-arm gyratory roundabout used by over 42,000 vehicles per day.

The first of its kind in the UK, this installation uses the IRS2 intelligent hardwired road stud to increase driver awareness and improve lane discipline on and off the roundabout.

Located to the south of Edinburgh, the Sheriffhall roundabout provides a critical link between the A7 trunk road and the Edinburgh City Bypass, the A720, one of the main feeder routes into Edinburgh. The roundabout itself has four lanes with six arms off the roundabout two of which, both A720 approaches, also have four lane entries.

Improvements and efficiencies made to Sheriffhall roundabout in recent years have dramatically increased its capacity. BEAR Scotland, who manage this section of the road network on behalf of Transport Scotland, were eager to ensure safety measures were improved in line with the increased use of the roundabout. Upon investigation it was found that inadvertent lane drifting was a significant contributory factor in challenges in negotiating it safely.

To address this issue, whilst at the same time causing minimal impact on the existing road markings and supporting infrastructure of the roundabout, BEAR Scotland approached Clearview Traffic and together devised a unique road stud layout scheme that would guide the A720 traffic from either direction safely around and off the roundabout.

Entry to the roundabout from the A720 is traffic light controlled. This would lead to a fast injection of traffic onto the roundabout with drivers then failing to identify the correct lane for their vehicle. With the new system in place, as soon as the traffic signal on the entrance to the roundabout turns green, studs embedded in the road surface immediately illuminate and guide drivers onto the appropriate lanes of the roundabout. As the traffic signal turns red, all of the studs on that section switch off and then the studs at the next section illuminate as its corresponding traffic signal turns green. In this way, drivers now get an illuminated green phase to guide them all the way around and off the roundabout, with clear visual definition of the lanes to heighten lane discipline and reduce preventable collisions.

This installation took just 4 ½ weeks from initial survey through to build and delivery of the project, with installation undertaken over five consecutive nights to minimise disruption to road users. The IRS2 studs are the only fully UK Department for Transport approved hardwired road stud that can be utilised on such applications.

Nick Lanigan, Managing Director of Clearview Traffic said: “BEAR Scotland are one of the leading infrastructure management and maintenance organisations in Scotland, so to work with them on such a ground-breaking project and see it actively improve lane discipline and reduce the number of collisions is exceptional. Fewer incidents means less congestion and that has to be positive news for this major gateway to Edinburgh. Since this deployment, we have been in talks with a number of customers about replicating this in other areas facing similar challenges.”

Ian Stewart, BEAR Scotland representative for the South East said: “Safety is always a priority for BEAR Scotland and we are confident the investment in this innovative scheme will lead to a significant reduction in incidents on one of Edinburgh’s busiest sections of road.”

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