Our customers want to ensure safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers, and to keep traffic moving freely. And, of course, we need to make sure our team are safe whilst working. When it comes to installing bus shelters, have you considered the importance of traffic management? You probably have but what does it mean in detail?
What is traffic management?
In simple terms, traffic management is an activity that interferes with the use of an existing road, footpath or cycle path in some way as to manipulate the flow of traffic with the intention of maintaining public safety. It can include pedestrians, bicyclists and all types of vehicles.
For Externiture, traffic management could be temporary. E.g. when we are carrying out maintenance on an existing bus shelter. Or, it could be permanent. E.g. when we are commissioned to re-structure the road/pavement in order to alter the flow of traffic. Usually, and for the purposes of this article, we are talking about temporary adjustments required whilst carrying out works.
What makes the difference?
The reality of health and safety issues is that it comes down to having a professional approach right from the top of the organisation. We know that all the manuals, training and process documents can only go so far. It's about the layers above - consistently demonstrating excellence and a duty of care right across the company - especially in senior management. When looking for a contractor, we always encourage people to try and ascertain how health and safety is communicated in the company, how seriously it's taken and how that intent/approach is then articulated through documentation, processes and training.
What does it involve?
Qualifications & Training
Every single one of our works delivery team (including the administration staff and managers) has a “Safety at Street Works and Road Works - a code of practice” Manual. And they have all taken the NRSWA course and are accredited for "Signage, Lighting and Guarding" capabilities.
The manual is incredibly detailed. It provides scenarios and specific layouts/measurements for different widths of works and/or road speeds. But it still needs experience and knowledge to create the correct and most suitable plan.
Firstly, before we start any works, we do a full survey of the location we have been asked to work at. We take into account about 40 different criteria. Things like:
- Road type and location (e.g. single carriageway in a rural location)
- Line of site, curves in the road
- Legal and actual traffic speed at different times of day
- Traffic density at different times of day
- Footway widths and accessibility
- Pedestrian flow rates and alternative routing
- Pedestrian type (e.g. is it near a school)
- Any side roads or additional spaces to park vehicles
Sites will be photographed and measured. The Installations Manager will review the survey and produce a traffic management plan for the site. This is sent to the customer for information and review.
If traffic management is required, then we need to communicate what we intend to do, how it is envisaged working and for how long it will be required.
The manual is over 100 pages of detail, obviously, there is a wide range of things we can do. Everything from just a few signs and barriers to installing sets of temporary traffic lights.
Our experienced team put it all together for our customers into a detailed report - with diagrams, imagery, measurements and explantations. We submit this to the Permit Application Department in order to get approval for the proposed traffic management ideas. Not every council has the same process, but we will work to your system.
Below is a graphic of what the diagrams might look like.
[Click on the image to open a larger version]
What does this plan mean?
The bus stop work is to be carried out within the red lines. This red line is where the works will be coned off. As it is a reasonably busy junction where traffic lights already existed, the intent is to mimic the existing traffic light and pedestrian crossing points but to have control over the flow. The “Safety at Street Works and Road Works - a code of practice” manual defines that, in a 30mph area, the distance from first sign to the start of the lead in taper cone is required to be a minimum distance of between 22m and 45m. The judgement then comes down to additional factors such as whether there is a need for vehicles to pass or turn as well as speed and volume of traffic. The first sign must be a minimum of 15m and can also be increased if necessary.
As you can see, we have made it so that the existing bus stop now has "Bus Stop Not In Use" signage and we have placed a temporary bus stop further up Kirkintilloch Road. Each approach to the works is communicating with 4 standard signs:
- Roadworks ahead
- Traffic lights ahead
- Road narrowing ahead
- Wait Here Until Green Light Shows
And then we have the temporary lights.
Whilst Delivering the Works.
In reality, on the ground, it comes down to good management, good training and our staff’s experience and diligence. That’s what really makes the difference between just ‘ticking the traffic management box’ and diligently ensuring the best solution.
Our installations team has decades of experience in installing bus shelters, as well as the civil engineering requirements needed and, of course, the traffic management requirements to ensure it is all carried out safely. Our Work Manager software monitors everything from the initial survey to the scheduling, team management, project checklists and completion criteria.
Badly designed temporary traffic management can cause delays, diversions and, most importantly, unsafe conditions. We are not prepared to let that happen. We consider well-designed traffic management a necessity. It can add to the costs, but what is the cost of an accident?
If you have any questions about traffic management regarding a bus shelter or civil engineering project, why not contact Carolyn or Ian on 01635 862100?
What to ask for
Make sure that you ask your contractor to explain their traffic management plan. If they haven’t got one, then get them to send you one. And push for more detail and insight. Some locations are easy and all you need is a simple set-up.
Get your contractor to send you photos of the set-up and check they have the right qualifications to be working on the highway. It’s important that we all know our limits. When projects get to a certain size, Externiture doesn’t take any risks, so we hire in a specialist traffic management company to design and implement the traffic management configuration to ensure the best (and safest) flow of traffic.
For more information on traffic management requirements why not read…..