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Friday , 17 May 2024

Coloured Surfacing

In order to reduce the number of people being killed and seriously injured (KSIs) on roads, the road engineers, the world over, are trying their best to introduce new road technology. Pedestrian crossing forms a very important aspect of road safety but the problem with most pedestrian crossings is that they cannot be seen from far enough by the driver so as to enable him/her to apply the brakes in time. Coloured surfacing can play an important part here.

The UK based Ennis Prismo Traffic Safety Solutions’ various innovations in new road technology are an effort towards arresting the problem of accidents on the roads. Zebrabright® based on Clusterbead® technology and Tyregrip® are some of its products widely used in many countries for this purpose.

The Milan Clusterline photograph given in this story explains this specific technology. This is a pedestrian crossing in Milan, Italy which uses Zebrabright® – a coloured surfacing product developed to prevent the death of people while crossing the road. The photograph shows not one, but two crossings – one on each side of the junction.

The crossing furthest away is the normal thermoplastic type of crossing with a retroreflectivity (night-time visibility under headlights) of perhaps 150 millicandellas (mcd). By the time the driver notices it, he’s already so close to it that applying brakes would lead to an accident. The Zebrabright® crossing, on the other hand, has a retroreflectivity of more than 900 mcd. By road engineers’ standards, that’s extremely bright. If the road is straight, drivers will pick out the crossing at a distance of up to a kilometre. With its signal, even at twice the speed limit, there is plenty of time to come to a safe stop.

Zebrabright® uses Ennis Prismo’s proprietary Clusterbead® technology and applies it to the road with a two component methyl methacrylate cold plastic. Clusterbead® is used in a number of other coloured surfacing products of Ennis Prismo. But a few do not use the Clusterbead® technology.

Tyregrip® is an epoxy-based anti-skid system developed in the UK nearly twenty years ago to reduce the number of KSIs by helping those cars that are too fast to stop quickly and in a straight line, without skidding when they suddenly encounter a hazard. Anti-skid has proved to be so successful that it is now used in the UK before virtually every pedestrian crossing, on the approach to every major road junction and roundabout, and outside every school. It is also in increasing use in USA and in countries like Indonesia and Cyprus where there is a sustained campaign to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on the roads. It has reached this level of acceptance because it works brilliantly.

The Braking End photograph (given above) shows the immense workability of Tyregrip®. Two cars of identical make set off from the same place, drove at the same speed and applied brake at the same place. One was on lightly trafficked high quality asphalt; the other ended its journey on Tyregrip®. As the photograph shows, the car on Tyregrip® stopped well before the car on the unmodified road – a distance that could mean the difference between life and death for some child or old person present on the way. And the faster the cars are travelling, the greater will be the difference in the stopping distance.

Clusterbead® comes into its own again in various coloured surfacing products offered by Ennis Prismo under the names – ColourBright® and NightBright®. These surfacing, more than ten times brighter at night under headlights than high quality thermo-plastic road markings, have gained acceptance in many countries around the world for their ability to take road safety to an entirely new level. Red ColourBright® means, “Don’t Go Here” and is used to delineate places on the road that drivers must avoid.

Here is an example in a small town to the north of Birmingham, England on ColourBright: Before ColourBright® was installed here, the area saw a series of collisions when stationary vehicles waiting to turn right at the junction were hit from behind by other vehicles coming round the bend to the right too fast and close to the centre line. Now, the use of a red ColourBright® median means that vehicles leaving the bend are guided away from the centre, and away from vehicles waiting to turn. The result: not just reduction but elimination of collisions.

Research shows that drivers pay far more attention to what is on the road than to vertical signs. Because of its temperate climate, it is okay to use hot-applied surfacing in the UK but in the Indian sub-continent and most of South East Asia, Tyregrip® would be mandated.

John Lynch
Urban ITS Center
Regional Sales Manager
Middle East & Africa
Ennis Prismo Traffic Safety Solutions

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