City engineer Seán Dough says they are very pleased with the exceptional results. "There has been worsening driver behaviour over the last few years. We have been seeing all sorts of shenanigans [which were] especially bad this year." "It started with vehicles racing through orange lights. We saw a trend [of drivers] going later and even later through the orange and red lights. Traffic on green were frequently driving in through vehicles that continued to drive through the red lights. Pedestrians didn't get a look in when we observed the junctions! In fact, we were seeing that [the] pedestrians only chance to cross was to go when traffic snarled up completely."
Mr Dough of the council has told us that they had tried a huge variety of methods in effort to influence road user behaviour. "We worked on signage." "Junction layouts were redesigned and realigned with leading transport industry best practice. All sorts of timing schemes were attempted." "Local education campaigns were run." "We have bent over backwards on an ongoing basis for a few years running now." In the last two years there were some accidents and tragically there were two of incidents of death involving vulnerable road users. A local campaign protesting about road deaths was running but a general consensus is that it did not seem to have an effect. Gardaí were also tasked with enforcement of traffic rules at problematic junctions. We are informed that operation Free Moving was successful while Gardaí were on the scene however Gardaí found it difficult to keep up with the amount of traffic rule violations while present and behaviour reverted and when Gardaí were absent. "We worked very hard to try and find a simple solution but nothing made a tap of difference".
The council took a new direction and started working with professor Maire Ní Chreidte and an International team about eight months ago. Initially monitoring of the junctions and the lights was done. Ms Ní Chreidte told us "We observed very agressive behaviour by vehicles. We are passionate about road safety in this team. We did not wish to spend years collecting data and publish a report at the end. We really wanted to solve this problem." A mix of academic and military or police technologies were examined and the team connected with the company AntiForce. "The timing was just right for us. The device had just been trialled and rolled out in a city state national basis by AntiForce.
How does the device work? Sting shield technology deploys on the same timing as the traffic lights. The marking stop line at each side of junction contains the device embedded along the full width of the line. Upon the green to orange light transition the shield deploys upwards. When fully extended a tyre moving over the sheild will be penetrated by sting needles and the tyre is held in place on the line. Upon the red to green light transition the sheild retracts and traffic can move freely over the line. AntiForce say cyclists can move through the stop line for cars into the cycle forward stop area by steering carefully between or hopping over the needles. A higher density needle mesh on the cycle stop line then enforces cycle compliance. The company say pedestrian sting barriers are among future developments. Mr Dough said "We were looking for a comprehensive and effective solution and we are well pleased to have found one."
|Traffic light enforcing technology unobtrusively embedded in the stop line.|
A vehicle is held on orange or red.
We queried AntiForce about the safety aspects of the device and we were informed that the needles were resin coated so that tyre penetration would almost never in and of itself be the sole cause of a tyre puncture. We were also assured that the measured increase in safety for junction users was significantly larger and cancelled the smaller increase in risk with vehicles coming to an enforced stop on red which may be of an unexpected nature.
It now looks like the trial here is set to be the basis of a roll out of the technology across a wider area. Be alert and watch for these devices at the stop lines!
Please remember our road space is a shared space, drive and use it defensively and with care and consideration for other users.
#TrafficLightEnforcing #StingShield technology @WaterfordWhispers