Technology solution could make roads safer after upper deck of bus hits bridge and injures 8

Double decker bus hits low bridge

Last week eight peo­ple have been injured and a man has been arrest­ed after a bus bound for Swansea Uni­ver­si­ty crashed into a rail­way bridge. Two peo­ple have been seri­ous­ly hurt and anoth­er has been air­lift­ed to hos­pi­tal with life-threat­en­ing injuries.

Lor­ries or bus­es strike a low bridge in the UK near­ly 2,000 times a year, almost five times a day. Bridge col­li­sions by over-height vehi­cles lead to road and rail delays, heavy con­ges­tion and the con­se­quen­tial envi­ron­men­tal haz­ard from fumes and emis­sions, and some­times derail­ment and bridge col­lapse. In the worst cas­es, they can cause injuries and fatalities. 

Now, a com­pa­ny has cre­at­ed a sys­tem of elec­tron­ic goal­posts’, that com­bines sen­sors, vari­able mes­sage signs, alarms sys­tems and mon­i­tor­ing, to warn over-height vehi­cles in time before they reach a low bridge. 

VPS Secu­ri­ty Ser­vices’ Over-Height Vehi­cle Detec­tion Sys­tem (OVDS) offers a proac­tive solu­tion that active­ly mon­i­tors traf­fic on routes where over­head obstruc­tions pose a strike risk, and pro­vide strike warn­ings to dri­vers of vehi­cles that are too large. 

Using quad beam laser sen­sors to mon­i­tor traf­fic on approach­es to obstruc­tions such as tun­nel entrances, low over­pass­es and bridges, if a vehi­cle is too large to pass safe­ly, it is detect­ed, trig­ger­ing auto­mat­i­cal­ly a bright LED sign, dis­play­ing Warn­ing Low Bridge – STOP”, and an audi­ble alarm that instructs the dri­ver to alter their course or stop before they reach the obstruction.

Dur­ing sev­en weeks of road­works on the A66 last year, approx­i­mate­ly 2,000 over-height vehi­cles were detect­ed head­ing in the direc­tion of Kirk­by Stephen, where a low bridge is sit­u­at­ed. No bridge strikes occurred. 

Two of the peo­ple injured last week are in seri­ous con­di­tion, so I hope they pull through.” says Andy Leigh, from the VPS Traf­fic Tech­nol­o­gy team. No mat­ter how many warn­ing signs are plas­tered all over a bridge, or on sta­t­ic signs lead­ing up to it, dri­vers either ignore them or think they can still get under. But when a flash­ing light is dis­played, along with audi­ble warn­ings, then it’s much, much more like­ly they’ll notice the poten­tial dan­ger. This sys­tem helps pre­vent poten­tial­ly fatal and cost­ly bridge strikes, and direct­ly improves cus­tomer safety.”

The com­pa­ny have sub­mit­ted their inno­va­tion for a 2020 High­ways Eng­land Road Safe­ty Award. 

For more details of the OVDS call 0330 005 5300 email UK@​vpsgroup.​com or vis­it https://​www​.vps​group​.com/​h​i​g​h​w​a​y​s​/​b​r​i​d​g​e​-​s​t​r​i​k​e​-​p​r​e​v​e​ntion