The new ‘road studs’ will light up the road like an airport runway
A smart new technology is to be tested on a major UK roundabout to help prevent collisions between drivers.
Intelligent cat’s eyes will be installed at a notorious collision hotspot in the UK in a bid to stop drivers from drifting out of the lane they need to be in and prevent them from crashing into other road users.
These super smart ‘road studs’, the new name for cat’s eyes after foreigners were left confused about the name, believing real cat’s eyes were used in the fittings, will light up in response to the traffic lights when they change colour.
As a result, this major roundabout in the UK will be lit up so well it will look like an airport runway!
According to Highways England, these smart cat’s eyes are all about improving safety on our roads and this will be the first time they’ve been installed at a motorway junction.
Switch Island junction in Merseyside, where the M57, M58 and three ‘A’ roads merge together, will have around 170 of these smart little LED lights installed on the roads as part of a project costing £3 million.
Around 90,000 motorists use this junction on a daily basis and this intelligent new technology will hopefully help these commuters to navigate it better, as it can be a little confusing.
The road studs are connected to the traffic lights via an automatic controller unit close by, whilst all the cables will be hidden underneath the road surface.
As the traffic lights turn to green, the LED lights will separate the lanes showing how the flow of traffic should work, hopefully ensuring that motorists don’t drift over the white lines as they aim for the exit they require on the roundabout.
These smart new LED road studs have been provided by Clearview Intelligence, who claim they are visible up to 1,000 metres away.
According to the technology provider, they’ve already proven themselves in being able to reduce the number of accidents – collisions at some junctions in the UK where super smart road studs have been fitted have seen incidents halved, claim the company.
LED stud lights have already been installed by Highways England at Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey, whilst similar lights have been used at the A2 and A20 junctions in Kent, A41 in Chetwynd and Sheriffhall roundabout in Edinburgh, however, Switch Island’s motorway junction will be the first place to have this smart new technology fitted which links to the traffic lights.
“We’re always looking for new ways to further improve journeys and safety for drivers, and I hope the new intelligent cat’s eyes will help better guide drivers around Switch Island,” said project manager at Highways England, Phil Tyrrell.
The Switch Island scheme will begin on February 5 and should take around one year to complete, as new traffic lights will also have to be installed to connect with the smart new road studs. The traffic lights will be set higher so that bus and HGV drivers can see them better.
On average, around one accident every fortnight has occurred at the Switch Island junction during the past two years according to collision statistics – 49 accidents in total.
“The introduction of intelligent road studs, reacting to traffic light changes on a busy roundabout is a continuation of the traditional cat’s eye legacy but takes advantage of new technology available,” said Nick Lanigan, managing director at Clearview Intelligence who are based in Sheffield.
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