Highways England is rolling out a series of 170 smart LED road studs — commonly known as cat’s eyes — at one of the country’s busiest road junctions.
The smart studs are synchronised with nearby traffic lights, becoming visible when the lights go green and guiding drivers around junctions. They are linked to the lights by a series of underground wires, and turn off when the lights go red.
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The studs are said to be visible from 1km away, and will be installed at Switch Island junction in Merseyside, where the M57, M58 and a trio of A roads meet. The junction is used by around 90,000 vehicles each day, and is currently undergoing a £3 million safety initiative as an average of one accident happens on it every fortnight.
The intelligent cat’s eyes have already been installed in the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey, but this latest scheme will be the first time they have been linked to traffic lights at a motorway junction.
Announcing the scheme, Phil Tyrrell, project manager at Highways England, said: “We’re always looking for new ways to further improve journeys and safety for drivers, and I hope the new intelligent cat’s eyes will help better guide drivers around Switch Island.
Cat%u2019s eyes can lead the way.
Intelligent cat%u2019s eyes are being introduced to improve road safety at one of England%u2019s busiest motorway junctions. pic.twitter.com/wAlHfzmJyz
— Highways England (@HighwaysEngland) January 30, 2018
“The innovative light-up road studs along with the other improvements we’re introducing will make it much easier to navigate the junction, benefitting the tens of thousands of drivers who travel through it every day.”
The smart studs were developed by Clearview Intelligence, a transport technology company based in Bicester, Oxfordshire. The firm’s managing director said: “The new studs have been proven to reduce lane transgression by over 50 per cent in certain conditions so it’s a great way to help improve the safety for all road users.”
Image: Max Pixel