Highways England has granted £760,000 in funding to develop the new impact protection vehicle (IPV) which means workers will no longer need to be on the ground to install traffic management.
James Haluch, managing director for Highways and Waste Collections at Amey, said: “Since the end of 2018, our teams have been researching, trialling the latest technology and working in collaboration with suppliers, to create an impact protection vehicle that will protect our workforce while working on a live network.
“This latest round of funding will enable the team to progress to phase two of the project to complete the detailed design of a prototype.
“We have made great strides in the project to date, completing collision simulation modelling, exploring the use of virtual reality technology to operate the crane and sign deployment as well as reviewing and modifying the deployment mechanisms of the crash cushions.
“I’m looking forward to seeing a prototype and a final solution, which the whole industry could adopt ensuring the safety of all road workers on the network.”
Amey has been working with Highways England and suppliers such as HW Martin, King Highway Products, Rennicks UK, HIAB and HORIBA MIRA as well as Coventry University and the Manufacturing and Technology Centre to develop the IPV.
Highways England regional director Catherine Brookes said: “While we are doing all we can to change driver behaviour and prevent traffic management incursions, we cannot eliminate all risk.
“But measures such as this new type of IPV could protect the lives of our workers and road users and we look forward to seeing its further development.”
The funding for this next phase of the project includes the creation of a 3D schematic model of the IPV and its deployable crash cushions, a collision simulation model to validate the design as well as a tailor-made driver simulation programme to further test road user perception of the current operational solution.