Best Practice

LOCATION: Road transport ARTICLE YEAR 2017
ACTIVITY: Traffic management COMPANY: Colas Ltd
SUB ACTIVITY: On-highway COMPANY LOCATION: Traffic Management Operations – M3
BEST PRACTICE No: BP1992 COMPANY TEL: 07836 761262
'Airscan' – active management of diversion routes


Highways England’s new approach to roadworks’pilot scheme includes the provision of additional journey time information, easily distinguishable signing and a more consistent overall approach.

To complement this, Colas worked on a new initiative on the M3 Smart Motorway Project. The improvements provided by Colas includes the use of accurate and timely diversion route journey information, active monitoring of routes, improved signing and collaboration with adjoining road authorities.

The provision of accurate and timely journey information for road users through use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) is now common through work zones but is not used specifically on diversion routes for a number of reasons.

  • Diversion routes may vary in location and route on a night by night basis
  • Costly and less mobile equipment required to ensure coverage
  • Often necessary to mount ANPR equipment on high level poles or trailers.

Colas, working with mobile specialist Ikania, have overcome these problems by using a new generation of sensors that analyse anonymised data from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices in passing vehicles. The new system 'Airscan', can be quickly and easily deployed on diversion routes using the trailer mounted signs and monitoring equipment.

The system can calculate journey time and provides real-time, accurate information to VMS, while informing works supervisors of any traffic congestion, such as that caused by collisions.

The feedback provided by the mobile application on changes in journey times allows the strategic deployment of a Traffic Management™ team to assess and respond to the issue. The

system also tracks the location of the Traffic Management™ teams enabling a log of their activity to be maintained.


  • Drivers provided with accurate traffic information on diversion routes
  • Signage developed well in excess of requirements
  • Problems on diversion routes can be quickly identified and resolved
  • Improved driver experience of roadworks
  • Provides quantified data to help identify and correct problems with signing and signalling
  • Provides a detailed record of activity of the traffic management teams
  • Raised the bar for the industry in terms of management of diversion routes
  • High level of customer service satisfaction
  • Reduced incidents of abuse to staff by frustrated drivers.

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