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Highways England is currently testing new technology which can detect problems with power supply cables for roadside lights on its network. The GridKey system can identify if there has been a failure or if the lighting is not operating correctly.

Currently, the maintenance of roadside lights requires routine checks along motorways, which can often be time consuming and require lane closures, causing delays for motorists as a result. However, if successful, this system will flag up faults instantly and alert a team who can then either monitor the problem or dispatch engineers to carry out repairs.

This new technology means the need for regular inspections will dramatically reduce, creating fewer inconveniences for drivers. Plus, it will bring large cost savings, as well as a reduction in carbon footprint.

“This continuous monitoring will also improve safety by minimising the need to have our workforce out on the road – safety is always our number one priority” said Highways England Supplier Relationships Manager Lisa Maric, who leads the project.

In conjunction with Kier, the GridKey system is currently being trialled for 12 months in the Midlands. 60 GridKey units will be installed in the first phase and a further 400 units in the second phase. 

The data collected from the trial will provide a better understanding of the electrical loads and stresses on the street lighting power network, in both built-up and rural areas, which will be helpful if the scheme is then rolled out across the UK or as it is updated.

This project has received a £2.6m investment from Highways England as part of its £150m Innovation Designated Fund, designed to ensure they keep pace with advancing technology.

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