The future of smart motorways

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Herned
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Herned » Mon Jul 19, 2021 22:19

Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 22:07
Perhaps some of the innovation funds wasted over the years on purple cones and worded signs repeating "end of roadworks" messages could go on materials development or using more of the mains powered LED studs such as those used at Switch Island to show where the edge of the carriageways are. The fact HE still insist on using stick on studs on unlit motorways which are pinged off by HGVs after a week suggests not much effort is being put into lining or studs at all.
I was intending to make a point about lit LED studs and you have beaten me to it: the section of the M6 near Rugby that has(had?) those made such a difference when I have driven along there. That should be the standard, not street lighting everywhere

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Re: breaking down on smart motorways

Post by Bomag » Mon Jul 19, 2021 23:07

Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 22:07
Bomag wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 21:39
Bryn666 wrote:
Mon Jul 19, 2021 13:41


The answer there is to maintain studs and lining, not spend millions on environmentally damaging lighting schemes to turn the entire countryside into a floodlit theme park for the benefit of those who, if their eyesight is deficient, shouldn't be driving.
I see equality doesn't matter. You are confusing visual acuity with light sensitivity. Even with 6/6 vision every 13 years of your adult life your light sensitive rods and cylinders need twice as much light energy to fire. So even with completely lawful eyesight 65 year olds are not routinely being provided with a level of delineation deemed needed for safe driving. Even as a champion of roads markings and studs, no improvement in products or reduction in maintenance cycle can make a D4 ALR perform better when considering delineation. One lighting engineer (or non-lighting engineer) keeps on telling me that I should be improving markings and studs, unfortunately physics get in the way. I feel a Scotty quote coming on.

For the avoidance of doubt D3 isn't as much as an issue, its D4 carriageways.
The industry saying that they have created a situation where drivers can be lawful in terms of eyesight yet not provided for in terms of what they actually require leads to only two conclusions:

1: the minimum eyesight requirement is too lax
2: the industry standard is too onerous

Neither of these are issues of equality; one suggests the law is turning - to coin a phrase - a blind eye to deficient drivers, the other is the industry saying the materials they have are not fit for purpose.

Neither are good answers.

Perhaps some of the innovation funds wasted over the years on purple cones and worded signs repeating "end of roadworks" messages could go on materials development or using more of the mains powered LED studs such as those used at Switch Island to show where the edge of the carriageways are. The fact HE still insist on using stick on studs on unlit motorways which are pinged off by HGVs after a week suggests not much effort is being put into lining or studs at all.
No, in fact the answer is don't build roads in a way which doesn't provide delineation for a group of road users who have a protected characteristic and been able (until ALR) to drive safely on roads up to and including HSR. The design of markings on HSR was by a competent highway professional, and so was the assessment which allowed HSR at 60mph after the 2011 amendment regulations provided for higher performing markings to be used. The person who specified the marking and stud specification for ALR did so without proper reference to the cross section and without consultation with the relevant subject matter expert. Which is why you have a borderline level of delineation without street lighting.

If an idiot decided to design markings for an 18 year old and said anybody over 25 should be barred as they had deficient eye sight then would you say that was an acceptable? LED studs are great where road geometry limits the performance of headlights illuminating passive studs (or you need active switching); putting them on a straight(ish) / level(ish) section of road is really really stupid - the separation of studs means they are not sufficient on their own, you need markings with a preview time of over 3 seconds to counter the increased speed traffic is going. The end effect is more people are killed by hitting vehicles and scenery at faster speeds. Street lighting a D4M provides a consistent level of illumination of both the road markings and road surface.

In terms of better road stud specification its a pity IAN97 was killed off; perils of having a group manager who is not a highway engineer.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Conekicker » Wed Jul 21, 2021 20:43

Mains powered LED studs? On hundreds of miles of motorway?

Given the maintenance burden associated with those things, I have no doubt whatsoever it would be more cost effective to install street lighting.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Jul 22, 2021 02:45

PHE issued a warning some years ago that bright white LED lights inhibited sleepiness - this is desired when driving on a motorway, so surely we should have continuous lighting?
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by JRN » Fri Jul 23, 2021 09:50

Conekicker wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 20:43
Mains powered LED studs? On hundreds of miles of motorway?

Given the maintenance burden associated with those things, I have no doubt whatsoever it would be more cost effective to install street lighting.
Mains powered road studs sounds like a huge maintenance burden. I know they're used at Hindhead and one or two other places, but across the whole networks seems like a large expense.

There are some other options. HE apparently already trialling solar powered studs (from 2018):
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/High ... tuds-/4271

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Bryn666
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bryn666 » Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:01

Conekicker wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 20:43
Mains powered LED studs? On hundreds of miles of motorway?

Given the maintenance burden associated with those things, I have no doubt whatsoever it would be more cost effective to install street lighting.
Given how much of Area 10s (or whatever it's called this week) streetlighting is out of service, mains powered streetlights don't seem to be much better. I'm sensing a trend here about inability of HE's organisation structure to maintain what it has.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Conekicker » Fri Jul 23, 2021 14:13

Bryn666 wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:01
Conekicker wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 20:43
Mains powered LED studs? On hundreds of miles of motorway?

Given the maintenance burden associated with those things, I have no doubt whatsoever it would be more cost effective to install street lighting.
Given how much of Area 10s (or whatever it's called this week) streetlighting is out of service, mains powered streetlights don't seem to be much better. I'm sensing a trend here about inability of HE's organisation structure to maintain what it has.
More likely it's the HE bods in various Areas not making sure their contractors are performing to the contracts that have been signed.

Allowing that some of the contract documents have "room for improvement".
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Conekicker » Fri Jul 23, 2021 14:52

JRN wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 09:50
Conekicker wrote:
Wed Jul 21, 2021 20:43
Mains powered LED studs? On hundreds of miles of motorway?

Given the maintenance burden associated with those things, I have no doubt whatsoever it would be more cost effective to install street lighting.
Mains powered road studs sounds like a huge maintenance burden. I know they're used at Hindhead and one or two other places, but across the whole networks seems like a large expense.

There are some other options. HE apparently already trialling solar powered studs (from 2018):
https://www.highwaysmagazine.co.uk/High ... tuds-/4271
Solar powered studs are not, in my experience, a viable option. The failure rate was awful, what it's like these days I don't know but I'd be surprised if its improved much. The last time I saw a cost, they were somewhere between £25-£30 each. So well north of £12k per kilometre of a 3 lane motorway (both sides) plus traffic management. I've never known any last more than a couple of years or so before they fail completely. Throw in short daylight hours in winter and they can't last a full winters night, much less a full winter. Far more cost effective to use bog standard cats eyes and replace the inserts when they pop out. Stick-on studs anywhere but the offside edge are a waste of time and money.

With any studs, you also need to consider that motorways/trunk roads get resurfaced roughly every 10 years (so the studs will be planed out at the same time), which is far less than the lifetime of a system of streetlighting.
Patience is not a virtue - it's a concept invented by the dozy beggars who are unable to think quickly enough.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Jul 23, 2021 19:42

Last night, I had a rather confusing time on the M3...

The MS4 was showing (red circled) 50 with "Slow Workforce in the road"... the AMIs were all blank. So what was the limit? The guidance suggests "If no speed limits are displayed then the national speed limit applies."

As I know first hand, given that the evidence they send to show you were speeding is a photo of the AMI (you can see the separate camera on a pole just before the HADECS), presumably they couldn't enforce the 50 limit (not that I put it to the test... not, at least while passing the cameras).

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:50

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 19:42
Last night, I had a rather confusing time on the M3...

The MS4 was showing (red circled) 50 with "Slow Workforce in the road"... the AMIs were all blank. So what was the limit? The guidance suggests "If no speed limits are displayed then the national speed limit applies."

As I know first hand, given that the evidence they send to show you were speeding is a photo of the AMI (you can see the separate camera on a pole just before the HADECS), presumably they couldn't enforce the 50 limit (not that I put it to the test... not, at least while passing the cameras).
So it was a full gantry with AMI and MS4, but the MS4 was showing the limit and not the AMIs?

Probably a software error treating the gantry as an individual MS4.

But there are cases where HADECS cameras are mounted on individual MS4s too, so it doesn’t have to be on AMI to be enforced.
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Bendo
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bendo » Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:58

The limit in that case should be 50. There isn't legislation for a blank ami to raise the limit so it needs to be signed.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bendo » Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:01

EpicChef wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:50


But there are cases where HADECS cameras are mounted on individual MS4s too, so it doesn’t have to be on AMI to be enforced.
Yes, that's the point of HADECS 3, it also takes a picture of the MS4 so there is no dispute as to what limit was displayed.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:22

Bendo wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:01
Yes, that's the point of HADECS 3, it also takes a picture of the MS4 so there is no dispute as to what limit was displayed.
The HADECSs (and secondary cameras) concerned are mounted on by the AMI, so no MS4
See next post

So why is the AMI not also showing the limit?
Last edited by Micro The Maniac on Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:37, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Fri Jul 23, 2021 21:30

EpicChef wrote:
Fri Jul 23, 2021 20:50
So it was a full gantry with AMI and MS4, but the MS4 was showing the limit and not the AMIs?
etc etc

In fact, it seems like the MS4s with the HADECS were blank, but the rest on......... not that I'm inferring any misbehaviour...

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bendo » Fri Jul 23, 2021 23:31

That's interesting, can't say I've ever noticed any HADECS3 cameras without the EAV camera before. In fact when they first came out the EAV was has how it knew what limit to enforce based on the the manufacturer press releases.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Micro The Maniac » Sat Aug 07, 2021 18:56

Following on my previous post about the AMIs not being in use...

Tonight, heading north before J4A the old matrix signs were flashing 40... the first MS4 was showing 40 and lane 1 close (red x) - everyone dutifully moved across.

Then the gantry AMI was blank, and cars moved across to lane 1, and then to the lane gain at 4A

Then we get around the bend to the next MS4 showing two lanes closed (and a visible multi vehicle collision a few hundred yards ahead) - while a HA car and an ambulance appeared down the on-slip to be met with four lanes of traffic

The AMIs were still blank...

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bendo » Sat Aug 07, 2021 19:03

Perhaps report it to HE. You would hope their kit would be intelligent enough to report back if it's faulty but maybe not. Regardless a blank sign doesn't reset restrictions so its poor driving on behalf of those that moved back over.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Chris5156 » Sat Aug 07, 2021 19:09

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Sat Aug 07, 2021 18:56
Following on my previous post about the AMIs not being in use...

Tonight, heading north before J4A the old matrix signs were flashing 40... the first MS4 was showing 40 and lane 1 close (red x) - everyone dutifully moved across.

Then the gantry AMI was blank, and cars moved across to lane 1, and then to the lane gain at 4A

Then we get around the bend to the next MS4 showing two lanes closed (and a visible multi vehicle collision a few hundred yards ahead) - while a HA car and an ambulance appeared down the on-slip to be met with four lanes of traffic

The AMIs were still blank...
I wonder if this is a general fault with AMIs on the M3 Smart Motorway, since I’ve observed similar results more than once southbound J2-4, with MS4s showing restrictions but AMIs staying blank.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by SteveA30 » Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:10

Given that motorists won't know what MS4, AMI, Hadecs 3 or an EAV are, or what they do or, when they do it, you can see why they may get confused. If one of those is on but the next one (of whatever) is blank, what are they supposed to make of it? All horribly confusing to those out there who don't need to know how they work, only that the signs are always clear in their instructions and consistent, which they manifestly aren't in some cases. Symbols are also often meaningless to them, which isn't their fault. The industry needs to look at things from the users perspective, not a computer model which is based on logic, people are not.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by ais523 » Thu Aug 12, 2021 13:51

It's quite common to see a random blank gantry/MS4 in the middle of a run of lane-closed gantries/MS4s. I wonder whether they malfunction more often than motorists expect.

(Of course, this could be a cause-and-effect thing – it's quite possible that the purpose of the lane closure is to fix the sign! Still, this happens on the run-up to closures, too, so it's probably just a case of the signs being unreliable.)

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