The pulse of highway infrastructure
Roads are the most popular method of transport in the UK, with the majority of journeys made by car or van. There are approximately 2,300 miles of motorway, 5,300 miles of trunk ‘A’ roads and 23,800 miles of principal ‘A’ roads, all of which help carry 90% of passenger journeys each year. Therefore it is vital that routes remain clear and in use to ensure motorists stay mobile and safe on the road.
For every road, dual carriageway and motorway network there sits an intricate infrastructure of streetlights, helping to keep routes illuminated and drivers visible to one another. Therefore, constant power is vital to ensure users remain guided on their journey. Whether powering lighting networks on major UK motorways, or traffic light controls throughout residential areas, power distribution enclosures are the perfect solution that guard electrical components within, while protecting the public from the potentially dangerous currents they enclose.
Protection and power
Power distribution enclosures have a capacity to host a number of bespoke features that allow different road networks to function, while standing confidently within a busy and, often chaotic, environment. Adding an extra layer of protection, in terms of physical durability, pillars come in an IP65 rating as standard and can be adapted with customised paint finishes (G2A, BS or RAL). These not only help to sympathetically match the landscape surrounding pillars, but G2A is the paint finish specified by Highways England that increases longevity and robustness.
Pillars in areas that suffer from tough weather or environmental corrosion, can be protected with hot dipped galvanisation (HDG); another available feature that enhances durability. Combine this with 5mm thickness options (standard is 3mm) that are ideal for highways and 18mm thick marine grade ply backboards, fitted as standard, continuous power requirements can be upheld with the provision of more robust, heavy-duty materials.
From slim line pillar shells that meet challenging space and power requirements, to large bespoke enclosures that can not only house power for street lighting, but metering and remote communication systems, there’s more to power distribution enclosures than initially meets the eye. They can energise journeys in more ways than simply providing protection and powering lighting infrastructure; their roadside location provides the perfect opportunity for the installation of other related items to be housed, in a resilient and reliable shell.
Meeting the growing needs of transport infrastructure
As road use increases and technology advances, there’s a constant and growing need for power to keep transport moving. This means that enclosures must work harder and they undoubtedly have the ability to do so. Scalable, reliable and flexible, the physical stature of pillars can adapt to changing needs as and when required, thanks to their detachable roofs that not only make installation quick and simple, but aid the switching of panel boards when additional wiring, component upgrades, or replacements are required.
The race towards EV is picking up pace, this means it’s becoming a more urgent requirement to ensure motorists are equipped with the necessary tools to keep their electric or hybrid vehicles on the road. Existing power distribution infrastructure is the ideal place to start; they’re already connected to a power supply, they’re most commonly road side or in car parks and they’re relatively easy to adapt. New technology is helping convert simple street furniture into power houses of asset management.
It is estimated that each year, congestion on motorway and major road networks throughout England costs £2 billion, with 25 per cent of this resulting from incidents. Cutting congestion will, inevitably, create economic benefits for the country as a whole and the introduction of smart highways is an example of how transport infrastructure is changing.
Utilising internet of things (IoT) technology to create safer and less congested roads by gathering traffic data, the smart highways initiative is one that is revolutionising UK roads. Technology is used to monitor congestion levels and change the speed limit when traffic flow needs to be smoother. This makes journeys more reliable by the addition of more than 240 miles of extra capacity through smart motorways, sophisticated traffic monitoring assets and digital communication screens to slow down or speed up traffic, warn motorists of traffic jams and hazards, as well as notify drivers of lane closures.
With the addition of such technology comes the need for more power and a consistent flow of real-time data. Custom power distribution solutions that are built to specification have the capacity to house communications monitoring and have the durability to ensure their internal ecosystems are protected, while being up to speed with the latest industry developments.
Providing a pulse to transport infrastructure, power distribution enclosures can add great value to road networks of the future with accessible, durable and long-lasting solutions that meet the growing industry requirements.
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