5th May 2023

Autonomous Vehicles and the Importance of Asset Surveys

As technology advances, the idea of autonomous vehicles being more present on the UK highway networks is becoming a rapidly approaching case of ‘when?’, and not ‘if'. However, the success of autonomous vehicles intrinsically depends on the performance of highway road markings, studs, symbols, traffic signs, and street lighting assets. These safety-critical assets provide crucial information to vehicles’ sensors and in-vehicle signage (IVS) systems, enabling them to navigate the roads safely and efficiently while considering real-time changes to the vehicles’ location. Therefore, it is essential to ensure these assets are performing at their optimum levels. This is where the ATM-AMAC asset surveys can enhance network operators’ survey and asset management knowledge and requirements.

The importance of highway road markings cannot be overstated. These markings (and their associated assets, such as road studs and road symbols) provide essential information to drivers and autonomous vehicles alike. They indicate lane boundaries, pedestrian crossings, and other important safety information. Traffic signs are another critical asset that requires regular and robust maintenance. Traffic signs provide information to drivers and autonomous vehicles, such as speed limits, stop signs, and other important instructions. Street lighting assets also provide an important function for road users and network operators, much like the other aforementioned assets. Street lighting provides essential visibility for drivers and autonomous vehicles, enabling them to navigate the roads safely at night and in other conditions where visibility is poor.

When road markings, studs, symbols, traffic signs, and street lighting assets are faded, damaged, defective, or missing, it can lead to an environment of confusion for both drivers and the autonomous vehicles they are using. This confusion can cause accidents, delays, health, safety, and wellbeing issues, as well as legal and performance ramifications. Therefore, it is imperative to ensure said highway assets are performing to the required performance standards, are clearly visible, and/or are providing adequate illumination, especially within locations of historically greater lane deviation, traffic density, and accident rates.

The ATM-AMAC asset surveys can provide road users and network operators with the assurance of reliable data on their assets' performance levels, helping to ensure these critical assets are performing to their required outputs. Our surveys involve a comprehensive inspection of these road marking, stud, symbol, traffic sign, and street lighting assets, all at traffic speeds, without any traffic management requirement or other user disruption. So not only do network operators receive reliable, data-driven decision-making deliverables, but the requirement for highway inspectors to risk being on the network is eradicated. Time, resource, financial, and health, safety, and wellbeing factors are mitigated as a result of collaborating with ATM-AMAC. We also reduce the associated carbon footprints other, more traditional data collection methodologies create, assisting clients in their respective net-zero KPI imperatives. The surveys can identify inventory, retro-reflectivity, and condition data, as well as a full photometric measurement in the case of street lighting assets.

Once fully integrated into any data management software, the survey data provided to clients can be analysed via further collaboration as to your specific asset management needs and requirements, using our wealth of industry knowledge and expertise to provide the best possible value. Various formats of data deliverables are accessible to clients wishing to use our system capabilities, with bespoke and individual requirements easily translated to suit whichever user profile you require.

ATM-AMAC surveys have been certified by not only the Texas Transport Institute (TTI) but also Cidaut, the Spanish equivalent of Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) in the UK, whereby regular calibration of all system components is administered prior to all surveying periods commencing. Our past client relations include National Highways area operators from all areas across England, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, and local English authorities, stretching across various countries within Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Oceania since 2014.

It is essential to ensure that your highway assets are performing to the required standards from a representative human and data viewpoint as demand rises for the inevitable onset of autonomous vehicles. ATM-AMAC’s asset surveys can assist in enabling proactive action to be taken instead of being reactive, which can create higher levels of cost, resource, performance, legal, and most importantly, health, safety, and wellbeing issues. By ensuring these assets are performing within your approved standards and budgetary profiles, we can help ensure the safe and efficient link between road users, autonomous vehicles, and asset inventory databases to enhance a data-driven decision-making environment for road users and network operators alike. We look forward to collaborating with you soon to create a quality, trustworthy, and valuable partnership. Thank you for your time.