to a recent study conducted by the Transport Research Institute at Edinburgh
Napier University, active road studs have a positive effect on driver
The study “Active Road Studs as an Alternative to Lighting on Rural Roads: Driver Safety Perception” was the first to study the effects of the use of active RoadStuds (Road Studs with LEDs) on the confidence of drivers at night. Analyzing
the status of active road studs to drivers relative to other road features such
as lines, street lighting and retroreflective reflective studs. The cost
and environmental effect of standard interventions such as street lighting make
the active road stud a great alternative to night-time road lighting.
Active Road Studs Rise Drivers Confidence at Night-time
discovered that, while demand for street lighting may remain, active roadstuds have a significant positive effect on driver confidence where they are
The enhancement in visibility of road elements, such as intersections and bends, is suggested as the initial explanation for the rise in driver confidence connected to the active Road Studs. Intelligent road studs have also been shown to assist drivers acquire a better sense for what is in front of them as they emerge, resulting in a better preview time of the road ahead and, consequently, a faster reaction.
to the survey results, the active road stud not only helps to emphasize the
road, but it also helps to mitigate challenges created by the presence of other
cars. Users noted an advantage from being able to see the road beyond
approaching vehicles' headlights. The presence of active road studs would
appear to benefit all drivers, particularly those with greater levels of glare
or contrast sensitivity, by adding extra clarity to the road alignment.
Equity in access to transportation
Active RoadStuds benefits can be expected across all user groups, with particular
benefits for elderly and female drivers.
the usage of the active road stud was found to be extremely favorable across
all demographic groups, with substantial support for further use on the road
network. Most notably, consumers thought the route's safety had been
enhanced, resulting in an increase in trust. This sense of safety is
especially important for elderly and less-confident users, who may self-regulate
their driving as a result, potentially resulting in a loss of
independence and general health. It is claimed that the active road stud
may possibly assist to resolving such issues by boosting driver confidence.
Given that driving at night is known to disproportionately affect female and senior road users, the implementation of such a policy might help address issues about equity in access to transportation, particularly in rural regions.
Cost-effective and environmentally friendly
practice, what this may suggest is that in situations where lighting brings
with it a high cost (either financial or environmental) or potential disbenefit
(decreased concentration or increased speeds), the active road stud might be
considered as a viable alternative by road engineers”, study says. Intelligent
road studs provide a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to
streetlighting or when illumination installation is not possible,
contributing to the increment of driver confidence at night and thereby
potentially opening journey opportunities.
appear from the results presented that the studs have a high level of
benefit at a relatively low cost, particularly when compared with the
installation of street lighting.” it added.
Improvements to Traffic Flow and Vehicle Collisions Reduction
on the project centered on the Sheriffhall Roundabout on the A720 in Scotland.
Actively controlled road studs were utilized in this case, with the studs
synchronized with the A720 traffic lights on the roundabout. With the new
technology in place, as soon as the traffic light at the roundabout's entry
turns green, studs embedded in the road surface glow and assist cars towards
the proper roundabout lanes. When the traffic light goes red, all of the studs
in that part turn off, and when the matching traffic signal turns green, the
studs in the following section illuminate. As a result, vehicles now have an
illuminated green phase to lead them all the way around and off the roundabout,
as well as strong visual delineation of the lanes to improve lane discipline
and decrease avoidable incidents.
to Mr. Llewellyn's study on the Sheriffhall Roundabout, Lighting the Way: The
Use of Intelligent Road Studs at Spiral-Marked Roundabouts, there was a 60%
drop in partial lane violations and a 45% reduction in full lane shifts as a
result of the studs being deployed.
to the paper's findings, when used in conjunction with a spiral marked
roundabout, the road stud has a beneficial influence on driving behavior. Lane
discipline is expected to increase, which reduces the likelihood of
vehicle collisions. According to the report, there may be improvements
to traffic flow as a result of increased predictability of pathways through the
While it is
not a cure-all for all lane violations, the research provided showed that it
can result in considerable improvement and has the potential to decrease the
costs of accidents and related traffic delays.
Inadequate Road Visibility During Darkness
project work included investigating intelligent studs put on the A1 in Scotland.
Residents and frequent travelers lobbied for years for upgrades to address
perceived safety problems along the route. Despite this, Transport Scotland
stated to local elected members that just two minor injury crashes had occurred
over the time period studied. However, the assessment discovered that during
the hours of darkness, the visibility of the route's intersections may be
viewed as inadequate, and an upgrade scheme was subsequently devised to address
user complaints. The design included the use of LED Active Road Studs to
emphasize intersections and selected linkages in order to improve user
perception and experience. At nine intersections, including two
intermediate lengths of roadway, over 4200 studs were placed in total.
of this study was to analyze the significance of road characteristics during
the hours of darkness, as well as the opinion of active road studs in this
context. Respondents were asked to rate the following six aspects on
a five-point Likert scale ranging from ‘not important' to ‘very significant': street
lighting at intersections, street lighting on curves, road studs
at intersections, road studs on curves, solid white lines at road
borders, and white line markings in the center of the road. They
were also asked whether the introduction of the active road stud had changed
their opinion on seven themes: clarity of junctions; clarity of
curves; clarity of lanes; their confidence driving in darkness;
opportunities for travel; overall safety; and incidence of
speeding on the route, on a five-point scale from ‘strongly worsened' to
Drivers Reaction to Road Studs
reacted favorably to the active road stud as a nighttime road feature. Overall, 93 percent of
respondents noted an increase in the clarity of the route's intersections, bends,
and lanes. Positive shifts in safety perception were also discovered. Eighty
percent of respondents said the general safety of the A1 road had improved,
with one-third saying their travel options had expanded. In all, 72 percent
of respondents said they felt more confident driving in the dark.
Llewellyn added: “Our work has shown the scheme as implemented has met the
goals set of improving driver confidence by highlighting key features during
hours of darkness, at a relatively low cost. This is important finding, particularly from
a societal point-of-view. There is
clear potential for even greater benefits to be gained if these changes in
confidence result in positive changes to driver behavior and a reduction in
collision potential. The next phase
of our research will look at changes to speed profiles and gap acceptance at
junctions along the route, two significant causation factors in rural
collisions. If positive changes can be
found in these areas, the benefits of intelligent road studs in contribution
to road safety targets could be even greater than those already shown.”
six-year study by Edinburgh Napier University is due to complete and report
final overall results this December.
Source: Llewellyn, R.; Cowie, J.; Maher, M. Active
Road Studs as an Alternative to Lighting on Rural Roads: Driver Safety
Perception. Sustainability 2020, 12, 9648. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229648