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Technology is key to tackling incursions

Following an increase in site incursions, Roger Poeth, MD, HRS shares his thoughts

I have worked in digital incursion prevention & warning for over 12 years.  Since then, our industry has made major progress in reducing risk but I am still horrified by the number and nature of incursions that continue to happen on our roads.  In many cases there is a sheer disregard for the safety of the people maintaining and improving our roads which is simply unacceptable. With the increasing use of cameras, we are getting to see more footage of incursions which allows the industry to highlight the problem to a wider audience and hopefully encourage a change in behaviour. However, change is a slow process that also requires support from policy makers.

Risk of incursions and confrontation is a challenge that the traffic management industry faces each and every time a road closure is required. Unfortunately, we cannot control driver behaviour, whether it is a driver breaching a closure at speed or one who wants to physically or verbally challenge a roadworkers. Therefore, the industry has to focus on implementing measures that reduce the risk to our workforce and remove them from areas of potential harm. Prevention should always be the number one objective but where this cannot be guaranteed warning systems should be used. There is a lot of excellent, collaborative work going on across the industry to find and implement solutions that remove workers from dangerous situations. It is challenging but advances in innovation and technology are making a real difference.

The industry Raising the Bar initiative (27) has recognised that intelligent warning systems have been proven to significantly reduce the risk to roadworkers and road users. They can help avoid conflict by removing operatives from closure points and providing instant warning to site workers in the case of an incursion. It recommends that the use of an incursion warning system at manned and unmanned closure points, which will monitor the position and movement of TTM equipment, should be provided as the first level of mitigation against incursions. Digital incursion systems that remove operatives from the point of conflict shall always be the first measure employed.

HRS was established over 12 years ago, following the death of a road worker who was tragically killed by an errant driver. We began exploring digital technology to find a way in which we could use technology to help prevent incursions and warn workers where this is not possible. Our award-winning Intellicone® Incursion Prevention and Warning System (IIPAWS®) was launched. It has contributed to keeping road workers safe and prevented countless incursions and removed hundreds of roadworkers from potentially dangerous and violent confrontations. More importantly it has continued to evolve with support from roadworkers.

Last year, we protected over 18,000 closures across the UK with our IIPAWS® technology. Our alarms have prevented incursions and encouraged drivers to turn back or to accept an escort out of the closure. They have warned workers and given them time to get to a place of safety but importantly road workers have told us that they feel more confident and secure with the additional protection from the technology.

Technology is constantly evolving and we continue to look for improvements in our products and services to find the ultimate solution. We debrief with our clients after every IIPAWS® activation to assess the specifics of the incidents and identify where improvements in the set-up could be made or where additional training or support may be required. We developed further product to support and enhance our IIPAWS® technology including Intellicam® which records any incidents and Intelligate® which is a remotely operated access gate.

HRS’s expertise is in finding digital solutions and but we cannot achieve this without working with partners across the industry. Together we will continue to strive for zero harm with the ultimate goal of eliminating the risk of incursions into our roadworks.

Everyone has a right to go home safely.

Note to editors: For more information contact Lisa Killinger, Head of Group Marketing and Communication 07825 089588