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ITS to develop new message sign

Fri, 08 Jun 2012

Our ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems) team have been commissioned by the Highways Agency to design and develop a new type of message sign for installation on the busy Aston Expressway, Birmingham.

An unusual motorway, the Aston Expressway consists of seven lanes (with no central reservation) requiring a 'tidal flow' system to ease congestion. This means that during the morning and evening 'rush hour' certain lanes may be reversed to improve traffic flow into or out of the city through the use of message signs which notify drivers as to which lanes they may use.

The new signs will differ from the ones currently manufactured by ITS as they will feature green LED directional arrows and meet new BSEN standards. ITS Manager, Ian Gibson, said: "The existing signs on the Expressway were built to a much earlier standard and do not meet today's performance requirements with respect to legibility of display. Providing new signs with much better optical characteristics will mean improved safety as it will be easier for drivers to see what lanes they need to be in (especially in bright sunlight).

At the moment we are in the process of designing and building a prototype which will then need to be certified by an external accreditation body, and once our application is approved we will manufacture 130 signs for the Expressway contract."

He also said that the Highways Agency would see other benefits: "After the signs are installed it will be possible to monitor them from a remote location, which would allow any problems to be diagnosed prior to sending out a maintenance team. This is significant as previously two trips may have been required - one to diagnose and one to fix any issues, resulting in cost savings."


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