The A4123, also known as the Birmingham New Road or Wolverhampton Road, is the main carriageway linking Birmingham and Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. The road is 12 miles long (19.3 km) and passes through the authorities of Birmingham City Council, Dudley MBC, Sandwell MBC and Wolverhampton City Council.
One particular stretch of 40mph dual carriageway, maintained by Sandwell MBC has seen a number of major Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs) at a staggered junction with the side roads of Brandhall Road and Queensway. The junction was previously identified as an area of concern and the Police installed Gatsometer BV speed cameras on both approaches. Despite the cameras, serious collisions were still occurring, highlighted last year when a speeding motorist, driving at twice the speed limit, hit a car on the junction fatally injuring its occupants.
Sandwell MBC has a long-standing relationship with Signature ltd(Mallatite), having worked together for over 25 years making the borough’s roads safer. Following a detailed consultation between our engineers and Sandwell’s traffic department it was decided that bespoke twin aspect vehicle activated signs (VAS) were needed to warn speeding motorists of the junction, encouraging them to pay attention to the junction and reduce their speed. These new signs would be a permanent road safety measure and would complement existing speed enforcement activities on and around the junction.
The design brief was to design and build two LED vehicle activated signs, to be installed either side of the junction, to display both the 40 mph speed limit and to provide advanced warning of the road layout, activating for motorists travelling in excess of the speed limit.
Using the latest CAD software and manufacturing techniques we designed and fabricated these bespoke vehicle activated signs within just four weeks.
“I’ve lived in the area for quite a number of years and pass through that junction regularly. So it’s really good to see more being done to make that stretch safer, especially after all the crashes there’s been. I’ve seen the signs ‘activate’ a couple of times over the last few months, and they seem to work well. I was in the nearside lane when a car over took me at speed; it was obviously going too fast. As the car got closer the junction the sign immediately lit up and his brake lights came on straight away! It was the first time I’d seen the sign and it definitely had the desired effect. If there had been cars on the junction and he carried on at that speed there could have been a serious crash.” Mr Raymond Brown, Local Resident.
Why use a vehicle activated sign? Many local and highway authorities are turning to VAS to encourage safer driving habits as they deliver information in a dynamic way. Permanently displayed traffic signs have proven to be ineffective over long periods of time as they just fade into the background for drivers regularly using the route. Well-designed VAS deliver clear and concise driver information, working on a psychological level, the illumination of the sign sends a message to the driver's brain, triggering the automatic response to decelerate or brake.
The new traffic signs, dubbed the Junction Master, are packed with useful features and energy saving technology.
- LED dual message (aspect) – Fully TSRGD compliant 507-1 staggered junction ahead and 670 V40 maximum 40mph speed limit. Reducing roadside clutter by minimising the number of separate traffic signs is very important to all highway and local authorities, as too many signs distract and confuse drivers.
- Clear and concise message – Warning, staggered junction ahead! The speed limit is 40 mph, slow down! Displayed using bright energy efficient LEDs ensuring optimum visibility in all weather conditions.
- Highly visible – The VAS incorporates amber corner LED flashers to grab driver attention.
- Fully automatic – The externally mounted Doppler radar detector is programmed to trigger the sign for oncoming vehicles traveling above the speed limit.
- Considered design – Mounted to the post using standard channel and clips, and supplied pre wired with 4 metres of cable this VAS is quick and easy to install.
- Auto dimming – The sign features a four-stage auto dimming system that ensures the sign is highly visible day and night. The twin LDR sensors prevent accidental dimming from oncoming headlights. Dimming the LEDs during the darker hours reduces energy consumption without impairing the visibility of the sign.
- Proven quality – Made in the UK, rigorously tested plus we are a BSI accredited ISO9001, ISO14001 and ISO18001 Company.