The future of smart motorways

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KeithW
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by KeithW » Wed Mar 03, 2021 21:09

WHBM wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 19:09
KeithW wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:01
It has been trialled on the M25 and M62 and is now being rolled out across England
It might have been good to have selected a system that was actually available, worked and could be installed before the Smart Motorway programme started, instead of just starting and saying they had it when they didn't.

I seem to recall Midas from a generation ago was meant to do the same thing - and didn't.

I wonder how good the CCTV cameras are at seeing a stopped vehicle at night, even if alerted. A significant number of the accidents reported seem to have been at night. Of course, ripping out the carriageway lighting as part of the works didn't help.
Where did they say they had a SVD system back then ?

Motorway CCTV cameras are not very numerous, there are 1500 for 2,713 miles of motorway and humans are not very good at monitoring pictures of traffic. They tend to be installed at major junctions or known pinch points. When there is no light they cant see any more than you can, at best they will see a car with its lights on.

The main problem with Midas seems to be the sensors, it uses inductive loops and/or magneto-resistive wireless sensors so had little chance of directly detecting a stalled vehicle unless it was right on a sensor. It was intended to detect queues rather than individual vehicles and as I understand it did that job quite well. Before they were installed the first you knew of queue ahead tended to be when you saw brake lights come on. I used to scan the horizon for the red glow they produced.

Please note I am not saying it was an adequate system for Smart Motorways, I hold no brief for the DfT or HE but SVD does seem worthwhile upgrade and its mobile equivalent used in collision avoidance systems is increasingly being fitted to mass market cars along with adaptive cruise control. My 4 year old C-Max has both.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by KeithW » Thu Mar 04, 2021 07:04

DB617 wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 15:45
I've just had a thought. I wonder how long the RoI on these SVD units is as I assume they will cost a fortune, compared to the cost of hiring dozens/hundreds more CCTV operators? Since CCTV was the originally conceived safe method of monitoring a smart motorway, and has presumably fallen victim to austerity cuts.
Hardware may be more expensive up front but long term its cheaper than paying humans to look at a bank of screens and rather less likely to miss something. CCTV even if it covers the infrared spectrum has limited usefulness in poor visibility. Systems on secure sites are increasingly using active motion detectors rather than relying on CCTV.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Chris5156 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25

EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16

Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25
EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Smart motorways are like asbestos: they're the best option until suddenly they're not.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by JammyDodge » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:45

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25
EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
I never knew the difference that lighting made until I went through from the M3 - M27. All lit with bright white LEDs. I could see *everything* as though it was daytime. Then I joined the M27 :facepalm:
Edit: Spelling
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:53

JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:45
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25

Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
I never knew the difference that lighting made until I went through from the M3 - M27. All lit with bright white LEDs. I could see *everything* as though it was daytime. Then I joined the M27 :facepalm:
Edit: Spelling
Is the M27 still HPS?
Smart motorways are like asbestos: they're the best option until suddenly they're not.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by JammyDodge » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:19

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:53
JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:45
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16


But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
I never knew the difference that lighting made until I went through from the M3 - M27. All lit with bright white LEDs. I could see *everything* as though it was daytime. Then I joined the M27 :facepalm:
Edit: Spelling
Is the M27 still HPS?
M3 J13 - M27 West is all bright white LEDs
Lighting ends after the 1st gantry heading west
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:28

JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:19
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:53
JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:45


I never knew the difference that lighting made until I went through from the M3 - M27. All lit with bright white LEDs. I could see *everything* as though it was daytime. Then I joined the M27 :facepalm:
Edit: Spelling
Is the M27 still HPS?
M3 J13 - M27 West is all bright white LEDs
Lighting ends after the 1st gantry heading west
Are the M27 SM works complete?
Smart motorways are like asbestos: they're the best option until suddenly they're not.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by JammyDodge » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:32

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:28
JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:19
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:53


Is the M27 still HPS?
M3 J13 - M27 West is all bright white LEDs
Lighting ends after the 1st gantry heading west
Are the M27 SM works complete?
I think they are still ongoing. When I last went down that way there was cones on the M3 for a couple of miles to the M27, but the M27 west of the M3 is not being made into an SM
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Chris5156 » Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:42

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25
EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Perhaps! Official policy, based on research, is that the safety benefits of lighting rural motorways was overestimated in the past and that generally the safety benefits of lighting do not outweigh the cost. That's the reason that lighting is now actively removed from rural motorways when it's life expired. I'm not 100% signed up to that idea, but that is the official line.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:16

Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:42
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25

Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Perhaps! Official policy, based on research, is that the safety benefits of lighting rural motorways was overestimated in the past and that generally the safety benefits of lighting do not outweigh the cost. That's the reason that lighting is now actively removed from rural motorways when it's life expired. I'm not 100% signed up to that idea, but that is the official line.
How outdated is this research? To me I think two major changes have affected this:

No hard shoulder = safety benefits increase
LED = costs decrease
Smart motorways are like asbestos: they're the best option until suddenly they're not.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by JammyDodge » Thu Mar 04, 2021 13:08

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:42
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16

But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Perhaps! Official policy, based on research, is that the safety benefits of lighting rural motorways was overestimated in the past and that generally the safety benefits of lighting do not outweigh the cost. That's the reason that lighting is now actively removed from rural motorways when it's life expired. I'm not 100% signed up to that idea, but that is the official line.
How outdated is this research? To me I think two major changes have affected this:

No hard shoulder = safety benefits increase
LED = costs decrease
These factors have changed, but so has the way that we understand our eyes and the way light affects them. The 2nd one shows the difference in visibility in the transition to LEDs
These videos are a good way to look at difference:
1. https://youtu.be/U1dMlVwUsrA
2. https://youtu.be/wIC-iGDTU40

I can understand removing lighting on rural motorways, but smart motorways are neither rural or quite because they are usually some of the busiest stretches of motorway
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Thu Mar 04, 2021 13:24

JammyDodge wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 13:08
I can understand removing lighting on rural motorways, but smart motorways are neither rural or quite because they are usually some of the busiest stretches of motorway
The lighting on the M25 is patchy between J20-23 and though there are plans to replace it with LED in the next few years, they are considering removing the lighting entirely away from junctions. It's already following a part-night schedule.

J23-27 lighting is permanently switched off.

J20-23 I'm less concerned due to presence of hard shoulder, but J23-27 is really what should have the continuous lighting, as well as all other sections with dynamic or no hard shoulders.
Smart motorways are like asbestos: they're the best option until suddenly they're not.

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Patrick Harper » Thu Mar 04, 2021 13:49

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25
EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Back in 2007 lighting systems were switched off on two major roads in the UK, the A27 from Portsmouth to Havant and the A40 Westway. In both cases the accident statistics did not change significantly. Then the Highways Agency switched off more lights (this time not as a consequence of rotting column foundations) in 2011, usually on quieter northern motorways but also part of the M1 in Bedfordshire. Again, there was very little effect on safety, hence the current status quo of removing or disabling lighting.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Debaser » Thu Mar 04, 2021 17:08

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 12:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 11:42
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16

But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Perhaps! Official policy, based on research, is that the safety benefits of lighting rural motorways was overestimated in the past and that generally the safety benefits of lighting do not outweigh the cost. That's the reason that lighting is now actively removed from rural motorways when it's life expired. I'm not 100% signed up to that idea, but that is the official line.
How outdated is this research? To me I think two major changes have affected this:

No hard shoulder = safety benefits increase
LED = costs decrease
IIRC it came in with TA49/07 (so roughly in parallel with smart motorways) and linked below - see section 4. The original value was 30% of darkness collisions were saved by having street lighting, this was reduced to 10% of darkness accidents. Doing the cost benefit analysis on whether replacing life expired street lighting was worth the money changed massively.

It should also be remembered that the age of drivers comes into it - the presence of street lighting reduces the number of collisions involving older drivers, conversely it increases the number of collisions involving younger drivers.

https://www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/ ... nline=true

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by thatapanydude » Thu Mar 04, 2021 17:28

EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25
EpicChef wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 20:38
If they care about the environment why not just use LED?
Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Fully agree !! Take a look at this video of the M1 from Rugby to Hemel Hempstead (from light to dark) on a HGV and you can clearly see the difference in visibility. Also from 9:34 a slightly hairy moment but it does show what the absence of a HS can lead too.

Re. the point on collisions - I would wager a bet that while lighting may entice higher speeds hence more collisions, a lack of lighting conversely does lead to more collisions when a car is stationary.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Fri Mar 05, 2021 02:01

thatapanydude wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 17:28
EpicChef wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 10:16
Chris5156 wrote:
Thu Mar 04, 2021 09:25

Removing carriageway lighting is more about cost than the environment. If you fitted Smart Motorways with LED lighting throughout, there would be the cost of installing all-new lighting at the outset, the cost of electricity to power them on an ongoing basis, ongoing maintenance costs, and the need to renew it again in about 20 years. If you remove the lighting you pay none of that.
But there’s a huge safety advantage to having such lighting.
Fully agree !! Take a look at this video of the M1 from Rugby to Hemel Hempstead (from light to dark) on a HGV and you can clearly see the difference in visibility. Also from 9:34 a slightly hairy moment but it does show what the absence of a HS can lead too.

Re. the point on collisions - I would wager a bet that while lighting may entice higher speeds hence more collisions, a lack of lighting conversely does lead to more collisions when a car is stationary.
It's literally night and day difference. I reckon they should at least trial it on one full stretch of ALR. Continuous lighting. Not just at jct's.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by KeithW » Fri Mar 05, 2021 08:40

EpicChef wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 02:01
It's literally night and day difference. I reckon they should at least trial it on one full stretch of ALR. Continuous lighting. Not just at jct's.
<Rant Mode On>
To be paid for by the magic money tree I suppose! There is a new reality to be faced this year. As a result of the disease that must not be mentioned the country is hugely in debt, the chance that the DfT will be in a position to pay for this are slim. In times past such economic circumstances have resulted in cuts in the road budgets.

There are other issues to be faced including light pollution. One of the down sides of the modern tendency to festoon streets and roads with bright lights is that in most of the UK you can no longer see more than a handful of stars in the night sky and Milky Way is a chocolate bar not something you see in the sky at night. Personally I expect and prefer it to be dark at night. Then there is the matter that 70% or more of the electricity we use for lighting comes from burning fossil fuels. Just as there is no magic money tree there is no zero emission electricity mine.

The reality is that the vast majority of the roads in the UK are
1) Not lighted.
2) Far less safe than motorways.

There is a compelling safety case for lighting residential and urban streets, this does not extend to roads outside urban areas.

Fact check - the UK has around 250,000 miles of roads, 8,000 miles of which are trunk roads and only 2,300 miles or so of motorway, at worst Smart Motorways are marginally less safe than than motorways with hard shoulders, if you find the money tree then I suggest a better use for the cash would be fixing potholes, the roads where I live are cratered with them. In fact as a nation we don't spend enough maintaining the roads we have. One of the busy roads I drive daily now has markings faded to the point of illegibility which hardly enhances safety and has more patches than the pair of jeans I use for gardening.

This GSV was taken 3 years ago, its much worse now.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.51803 ... authuser=0

Then there are the death traps at crossing points like this one where in the last few years two people have been killed. Note the houses on one side of a busy D2 road, the shops and pub on the other and the lack of a either a light controlled crossing point, zebra crossing or bridge. They did have the money for fancy wrought iron work though.
https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@54.52823 ... authuser=0
<Rant Mode Off>

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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by EpicChef » Fri Mar 05, 2021 09:07

:facepalm: it’s just common sense that lighting makes lane 1 crashes more visible. And now at least half the energy is renewable. Sometimes more.

And LED lights completely remove light pollution issues.
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Re: The future of smart motorways

Post by Bryn666 » Fri Mar 05, 2021 09:55

EpicChef wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 09:07
:facepalm: it’s just common sense that lighting makes lane 1 crashes more visible. And now at least half the energy is renewable. Sometimes more.

And LED lights completely remove light pollution issues.
Lighting on motorways was primarily introduced to combat poor visibility caused by smog, not by darkness. The reason the M62 is still lit across the Pennines is because it still is plagued by low cloud.

We provide safety interventions on evidence, not 'bellyfeel'.
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