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Costain and SWARCO first in the UK to develop and install next generation of digital road message signs

Costain and SWARCO first in the UK to develop and install next generation of digital road message signs

19 August 2019

Marking an industry first, Costain and SWARCO have collaborated to develop and install the next generation of digital road message signs. 

On behalf of Highways England, the two companies pioneered the technology behind the new signs with Costain delivering the roadside controller and SWARCO delivering the signs. This next generation of signs is able to get messages to road users more quickly, thereby improving road safety and the journey experience for travellers.

The new signs use unique high-resolution colour optical technology components which enable clearer messages and graphics to be displayed in all weather conditions, providing reliable and easy-to-understand information to keep road users continually informed about road conditions. Innovative approaches to design and production also mean the signs are more cost effective and easier to maintain. For example, less materials and cabling have been used, minimising maintenance requirements and the time engineers spend at the roadside.

In addition, the signs also have the capability to display live video pictures of congestion on the road ahead.  Such information could be provided to road users in the future.

Ian Parker, managing director, transportation, said: “Costain is leading the way in the use of digital technologies on the strategic road network and changing the landscape in how road users use road signs, improving safety and journey experience.”

Jeremy Cowling, vice president of ITS UK and APMEA at SWARCO, said: ‘SWARCO is extremely proud to have worked with Costain on this project. We are at the forefront in developing low power, sustainable technologies to make our roads safer. This results in highly legible, environmentally friendly road signs which also minimise maintenance time and costs.’

Courtesy of the support of the A14 team, the first of these signs were installed on the country’s biggest road project between Cambridge and Huntingdon.

Costain and SWARCO will be installing more of these next generation signs throughout the remainder of this year and into 2020 on the smart motorway programme including the M20, M23 and the M1.