Kier Highways has concluded a successful 5-month trial which tested how existing highway infrastructure could be used to help make digital roads a reality.
The trial, called ‘Illuminate’, was carried out on the M40 junction 15 Longbridge roundabout, near Birmingham.
CCTV and communications technologies were installed in the junction’s streetlights, to gather and send data to office equipment and tablet computers.
The trial showed that these technologies, which enable vehicles to communicate, are among the kit that could be neatly stored inside the lanterns of streetlights alongside the National Highways network.
Paving the way for autonomous vehicles, the technology stored in streetlights could be used to push out information on traffic updates, speed limits, and diversions – helping vehicles to plan journeys more effectively.
Carla Vicente, project manager at Kier Highways, said: “The Illuminate project has been a great example of collaboration across internal Kier teams, our client National Highways, the supply chain and the manufacturer.
“This proof of concept will feed into other future projects and the learnings will help to deliver more collaborative and sustainable projects which support National Highways’ Carbon Net Zero targets.
“Being able to install technology, such as CCTV, while we are replacing street lighting is a more efficient way of working and provides better value for customers. More importantly, it is a safer and less disruptive way of working, reducing the amount of road closures required.”
Lisa Maric, National Highways’ Innovations Lead for the Midlands, said: “These are exciting times as we progress on our Digital Roads journey with the growth of digital technology and the move to electric, connected and autonomous vehicles that will fundamentally change how we use roads in the future.
“National Highways is committed to ensuring we are at the forefront of this digital revolution and are paving the way for the greener and safer roads of tomorrow.
“Initial trials such as Illuminate will help us identify new innovations, technology and methods to meet our digital goals. We were pleased with how Illuminate performed as a proof of concept and the useful knowledge gained as we continue to plan for the roads of the future.”
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