Road sign technology to boost UK safety, sustainability

road sign technology
© iStock/elgol

The UK has begun to roll out the ‘next generation’ of digital road sign technology, featuring real time updates and high resolution videos and graphics.

Highways England has partnered with construction and engineering firm Costain and Austrian traffic technology group SWARCO to develop the new road sign technology. The first wave of the new signs have been installed on the A14 between Huntington and Cambridge; with further signage planned for deployment through smart motorway programmes on the M1, M20 and M23 throughout 2019 and 2020. The signs are provided by SWARCO’s innovative development team; while Costain is delivering roadside control facilities.

Ian Parker, Costain’s Managing Director of transportation, said: “Costain is leading the way in the use of digital technologies on the strategic road network and changing the landscape in how road users use road signs, improving safety and journey experience.”

Jeremy Cowling, Vice President of intelligent transport systems for the UK and APMEA at SWARCO, said: “SWARCO is extremely proud to have worked with Costain on this project. We are at the forefront in developing low power, sustainable technologies to make our roads safer. This results in highly legible, environmentally friendly road signs which also minimise maintenance time and costs.”

The new road sign technology is expected to improve road safety levels and drivers’ user experience, offering the facility to display clear, legible messages and graphics which can be seen even during adverse weather conditions; as well as the capability of providing live video feeds of traffic conditions to keep drivers fully informed and enable them to make appropriate travel decisions. The signs have been designed with the goal of minimising excessive installation and maintenance costs, using fewer materials and cabling than their predecessors in order to keep the amount of time maintenance engineers must spend at the roadside to a minimum.

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