Earlier this week we posted a Road Safety Week blog that explored the ways in which street lighting controls can encourage motorists to #speeddown and improve road safety. Following on from this, to show just how effective such systems can be, we’re sharing a recent case study of a centrally managed lighting system that signals speed limits to motorists in school zones.

Understanding the requirements

Bolton Council has a growing concern for road safety. It aims to reduce vehicle speeds and to make the borough’s roads safer. In order to do so, the Council has a budget of £1million to both repair and provide new flashing speed warning signs across the region, specifically in 20mph zones, such as school and residential areas.

The Council has had previous successes with similar systems installed throughout the city centre, which have considerably improved the safety of citizens and motorists in the borough. The new speed signalling lights will flash to alert drivers of the required speed limit to enhance safety outside 56 schools.

The key objectives for the Council were to ensure that lighting signals only worked at key school opening (drop off) and closing (pick up) times and therefore needed to be easy to control. The main task of the system was to encourage motorists to #speeddown when approaching schools, resulting in improved road safety.

A solution that fits

Lucy Zodion’s central management system (CMS) is traditionally used to control street lighting networks throughout towns and city centres, in order to improve efficiencies and enhance safety in areas that require better illumination. For Bolton, this system was adapted to meet their unique needs.

Rather than being used to reduce efficiencies, the CMS system was adapted to improve safety, therefore its ability to program lights to work at specific times of the day/ year was a key asset. Lucy Zodion’s solution is easy to manage with an interactive user interface, which stores all information about functioning times of the entire network, with the ability to further control specific lighting networks when required.

The results

Once installed, the lights provided motorists with a physical reminder of the speed restriction on residential roads throughout the borough with a warning signal created by a series of advisory 20mph warning signs. Controlled by Lucy Zodion’s CMS, the Council can now manage all roadside school lights throughout the borough and ensure all are working how and when required, with the ability to isolate faulty or failing systems, for quick repair or replacement.

Safety – Ultimately, the Council’s key objective was to increase road safety within residential school areas. With 120 advisory 20mph warning signs installed outside 56 schools throughout the borough, pupil safety is inevitably increased by warning motorists of the speed limit with both flashing lights and roadside signs.

Operational hours – To ensure the safety of staff, pupils and parents at crucial times, the Lucy Zodion CMS can be pre-programmed to switch flashing lights on and off during a number of periods throughout the day. This means that traffic flow is impacted only in school hours, reducing the instance of congestion in busy commuting hours. Another advantage of this unique system capability is that energy supply is only used as and when the lights are operating, increasing efficiency and reducing any additional running costs.

Control – As the lights are centrally controlled and monitored by Council staff, it ensures all lights work in a sequence that relates to the opening times and dates of schools within the borough. With the ability to pre-programme lighting patterns, councils can ensure lights will be working at the critical hours required to enhance safety. The CMS is also able to monitor performance, which means faults can be found remotely and repaired more effectively - running costs can also be calculated more accurately for further budgeting requirements.

Bolton Council’s executive cabinet member for environmental services, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “All the evidence shows that if motorists slow down to 20mph, or under that, injuries sustained in an accident are less severe. It is common sense to slow down where there are schools and many young children about.”

Head teacher of Bolton Parish Church CE Primary, Debra Meekings said: “Road safety is an essential part of our school curriculum and I am really pleased that children at the school will benefit from this.

Gemma, pupil of Bolton Parish Church CE Primary, aged 10, said“It’s a big improvement. If drivers look at the signs and slow down it helps children and their parents who are walking with them.”

To find out more about the Bolton project, download the full case study, below: