Switched on: Wifi and Bluetooth data give drivers real travel time through roadworks

Smart motorways just got smarter following innovative work by contractor Colas on giving drivers better information about travel times through roadworks.

Colas Airscan real time information for drivers

The company has worked with wireless systems technology experts Iknaia to develop a system that allows the real time active management of diversion routes rather than using more cumbersome automatic number plate recognition (ANPR).

With night time diversion routes changing regularly ANPR can prove less than cost effective so instead Colas and Iknaia have introduced the new Airscan system which uses anonymous Wi-Fi and Bluetooth signals transmitted by visible devices in passing vehicles. Data is collected by sensors and relayed to variable messaging signs which then advise road users in advance of potential delays and allow for strategic checks by maintenance teams.

As part of the system, Traffic Management teams are also issued with Bluetooth Low Energy tags that can be used to monitor the location of teams by checking in staff as they pass sensors on their route.

It is one of Highways England’s key objectives is to provide road users with information that is relevant to their journeys with the Smart Motorways investment an obvious place to introduce new systems.

Better information on travel times, improves drivers’ experience and behaviour so there is less risk to road workers from hazardous driving.

 “We are committed to delivering innovation on our highways projects and, through our work with Iknaia, we believe that Airscan is a solution that will not only benefit road users through real-time updates on traffic, but will also assist in improving the safety of our road workers,” said Colas technical manager Ryan Wood who has been responsible for the initial Airscan trail on Highways England’s M3 smart motorway upgrade for main contractor Balfour Beatty.

This approach to active management of diversion routes will continue to operate on the M3 smart motorway project and will be rolled out across other Highways England schemes to complement Intelligent Transport Systems strategies across the UK.



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