Automatic detection of stopped vehicles, and other incidents, for smart motorways
Navtech Radar, the world’s leading manufacturer of Radar-based Automatic Incident Detection (AID) solutions for traffic management applications, is supplying its ClearWay system for planned trials on hard shoulder running on strategic motorways in the North of England. The trials are part of a new, all-lane-running ‘Smart Motorways’ scheme.
For the initial trials, Navtech Radar has supplied ten TS350-X Radars and the sophisticated Witness analytical software. Each TS350-X offers 360 degree scanning capability within a radius of up to 500 metres and is capable of detecting an individual walking on the hard shoulder or debris in the road, as well as slowing or stationary vehicles. The solution is not affected by adverse weather conditions and has an extremely low false alarm rate – typically one per kilometre per 24 hours.
Dr Stephen Clark, Technical Director of Navtech Radar, says, “Evidence of the benefits of Smart Motorway schemes already exists. Analysis of the data gathered from the M42 motorway shows that journey reliability improved by 22% since it opened in 2006. The recent Smart Motorway schemes include traffic management using Variable Messaging Signs (VMS). These schemes have been shown to be safer than traditional motorways and the purpose of the trial is to show that when used in combination with the instant detection capability of AID, remaining risks can be further reduced, cost effectively.”
“Early detection of stopped vehicles is crucial at night or any other time when visibility is impaired, such as fog, when an immobile vehicle can create problems and greatly increase the risk of accidents. AID is very useful when the road is congested, but is even more valuable at times of low density traffic when most vehicles are moving quickly. As many motorways are no longer illuminated after midnight, other drivers may not see a stationary vehicle before it’s too late.”
For the new trials, the Navtech radars will be mounted on existing gantries and will continuously monitor the selected stretches for incidents. Any alarms will be transmitted directly to the Regional Control Centre. Operators will immediately evaluate the incident and, if necessary, alert relevant emergency services. They will also use the VMS signs to alert drivers to the possible danger and slow them down.
Over the past five years, Navtech’s ClearWay Automatic Incident Detection (AID) solution has been implemented in a variety of traffic management applications both in the UK and abroad. After pilot installations for the hard shoulder running initiative on the M42 motorway near Birmingham in the UK, ClearWay was chosen for the 1.8km (1.1 mile) Hindhead Tunnel, on the A3 in Surrey. With six radars in each of its twin bores, the tunnel is a key element of the 6.5 km (4 mile) stretch of new road that completes the dual carriageway link between London and Portsmouth.
A total of 104 miles of motorway in England, 6% of the network, has been designated for all-lane-running over the next two years.