Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Speed control in the future

News analysis

Cameras and calming 'Speed cameras are a crucial part of a speed management strategy, ' says Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety executive director Rob Gifford.

'They have proved themselves to be very effective, but they are only part of the strategy.'

Traffic calming also has its place as part of the short-term solution, says Gifford, but the long-term solution is creative adaptation of the car and road.

'The key is getting the road function reflected in the road layout, ' he says. 'The question is how to get useful information to the road user so that they slow down without a plethora of signs.'

More driver thought Removing street furniture to deliberately introduce uncertainty and so reduce speeds has been shown to improve safety.

According to independent urban design specialist Ben HamiltonBaillie there are already many examples of this thinking in Europe.

He cites an intersection in De Brink, Holland, where all conventional traces of highway engineering - road markings, signage, traffic lights - have been stripped away. The junction, which carries around 7,000 vehicles a day, was the scene for three deaths or serious injuries per year.

Since the redesign two years ago, there have been none.

GPS car control Creative adaptation of the car is a little more long-term, although in January trials are set to begin in North Yorkshire of a new automated speed control system, jointly developed by Leeds University and the Motor Industry Research Association.

Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA) uses a GPS system to determine the speed limit for any given road, and uses the car's engine management system to change the speed as appropriate.

A 'kick down' facility is provided should the driver really need to accelerate out of danger.

The trial will involve 20 cars being run for 2.5 years, with each car being driven by five motorists for six month spells. The driver will use the car for one month with ISA switched off, four months with it on, and then the final month will be driven with the system off to monitor the effect it has had on driver style.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Please note comments made online may also be published in the print edition of New Civil Engineer. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.