Kier and HRS collaborated on a pilot to develop an innovative digital service – Smart Taper – with the potential to revolutionise how industry manages traffic management (TM).
Taper strikes pose a serious risk to road users and road workers, with current industry practice to inspect the integrity of TM on a routine basis (normally every two hours), meaning that unsafe tapers can be left exposed for unacceptable lengths of time. Smart Taper monitors the integrity of cone tapers and immediately reports strikes directly to TM crews.
For the first time, this technology can also interface with Highways England’s Schedule of Roadworks (SRW/NOMS) system. In addition, TM controllers and designers can view deployments on live mapping interfaces, and use automated reports about on/off times and working
windows, which provides intelligence-led decisions and delivers more efficient schemes of work. Smart Taper has been deployed more than
2,000 times in Area 9 and is fully embraced by the Area 9 TM team. Due to the success of the pilot, it is being rolled out across Kier Contracts.
Smart Taper is under development to allow autonomous vehicles to navigate road works safely, based upon the exact locations of cone barriers and the first/last roadworks signs.
"The judges were impressed by the entry’s well thought through, proven practical applications – enhancing safety for road users and road workers, especially through early alert systems. It ddresses the riskiest elements of working on the highway, by reducing the risk of human error throughout the traffic management cycle – deployment, operations and removal. It also potentially automates notifications, enabling rapid response to changing situations. There is application across highway related works.
It also provides auditable assurance to clients, CDM holders and management."
Between 2007 and 2012, there were 149 IPV collisions on the strategic road network. Colas suffered eight incidents between 2013 and 2016.The AIPV is designed to reduce exposure to injury for IPV drivers by enabling them to operate the vehicle remotely/autonomously. It will change the way highways industries operate, bringing greater efficiencies and improved safety for all road workers.
The AIPV is a pioneering road safety initiative developed by Colas, Kratos (Microsystems Inc.) and Royal Truck & Equipment. This collaboration has been at the forefront of our work ethos. The concept was initially developed for use in the US military and has been customised for use in the highways industry.
The AIPV project combines vehicle automation technology including real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS, advanced vehicle radar, optical and LIDAR sensors and military grade steering and speed control components. The system uses a leader-follower setup in which the follower replicates the movements of the leader through the use of ‘e-crumbs’.
"Truly innovative use of technology to address a long standing vulnerability. The entry demonstrates initiative, leadership and investment in applying emerging technology to remove the human from harm’s way while improving efficiency. The judges acknowledged the level of commitment to date and the willingness to collaborate towards reaching an industry standard."
In 2015, planning permission was granted for a new council office building in Northampton Town Centre, One Angel Square (OAS) condensing many Northamptonshire County council (NCC) office assets, costing thousands to maintain and repair, to one central workplace.
Prior to the move, there had been adequate, free parking at all sites but this would reduce to only 139 spaces under the new building. 1600 employees were expected to work from the building daily. The decision to provide only 139 spaces was against a backdrop of increasing congestion in Northampton and air quality issues.
One option was for employees to purchase a parking space from Northampton Borough Council, although it was intended to keep this to a minimum because of cost. Employees were very concerned. Rather than parking for free, they now would had to pay as part of their regular travel costs: a significant rise in many cases. The KierWSP/NCC Travel Choices team made it a priority to offer as many alternatives to single occupancy vehicle travel as possible.
"The judges liked the entry’s total solution and holistic approach to driving behaviour change. With equal attention paid to the communication and engagement as to the technology elements giving rise to real measurable benefits and behaviour change. Every large employer should consider adopting this approach."
Kier Highways have pioneered the use of the first readily deployable Solar IP CCTV system for use on the Strategic Road Network. The camera was deployed at Junction 6 of the M42 in response to concerns from stakeholders regarding the poor visibility of traffic flows and the uncertainty over the cause.
The system is completely self-contained and can rapidly be deployed without any existing infrastructure.
Enterprise and ingenuity
The Solar IP CCTV System (SICS) was initially developed for deployment in the oil fields of Kazakhstan, providing solar powered and wireless point to point surveillance of construction areas and wellheads in remote locations. The system was specifically designed to provide reliable, self-powered HD CCTV surveillance in a range of extreme conditions.
"The judges were impressed by the entry’s rapid development and deployment of an integrated practical system which has significant advantages, such as cost savings and flexibility, over conventional systems. This system, combining Solar power and IP, potentially has wide ranging applications."