Highways England to develop automated cone laying machines

20/01/2020
Dominic Browne

Highways England and a select group of partners are joining forces to create an automated system for laying traffic cones.

Two automated cone laying vehicles are being developed with testing due to get underway next month at a centre in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.

If successful the project could have huge safety benefits and prevent workers having to lift an average of 10 tonnes of equipment per shift, Highways England said.

Highways England Group Leader Martin Bolt, who oversees innovation in the Midlands, said: 'By taking out the human element in the laborious task of putting out cones, we will be taking out an element of potential risk. As well as taking away this physical labour, these automated machines could also save valuable person-hours and allow us to redeploy the workforce to other traffic management duties.

'We are delighted to be working with all of our partners to create an innovative vehicle that will make this possible.'

Experts from Highways England, contractor Kier, HW Martin Traffic Management and competitors Highway Care and King Highway Products are part of a collaborative project team. If the tests prove successful the two companies will be able to take their vehicles to the marketplace.

Highways England is funding the development with £1.27m from its Innovation Designated Funds programme.

The automated cone laying machines could be in use by the end of the year.

Highways England stipulates that the machines should offer a safer method for highways workers and all road users, and they must also be able to lay/collect at least 400 cones at a rate of one every 10 seconds.

Cone facts

  • Putting out cones is currently undertaken by two people on the rear of a vehicle working in tandem. The bulk of this work is undertaken at night.
  • An average 1m high cone weighs approximately 10kgs.
  • A typical 4km closure involves putting down – and later removing - approximately 260-300 cones, meaning that two workers will both handle between 5-6 tonnes per shift in cones alone.
  • When additional equipment such as frames, signs, lamps, sandbags are factored in, it is not unreasonable for them to lift between eight and 10 tonnes per shift.
  • A single kilometre of coning takes approximately 15 minutes to install and remove, resulting in an exposure time to live traffic of approximately two hours per shift.
  • To date, ergonomics experts have struggled to identify a suitable method of placing and removing cones that don’t have an impact on workers due to the twisting of the body required and environmental conditions that the work is undertaken in.
Highways jobs

Regeneration Delivery Manager - Heritage Action Zone

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£42684 - £45585 per annum
(Fixed Term Opportunity until March 2024)Woolwich town is undergoing a period of intensive regeneration with huge investment in new housing, transport England, London, Woolwich
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Local Engineer

Birmingham City Council
£27,741 - £34,728
The Senior Local Engineer role is to provide technical service at senior level to Local Engineering teams Birmingham, West Midlands
Recruiter: Birmingham City Council

Traffic & Transportation Engineer

Conwy County Borough Council
£41,881 - £44,863 per annum
You should have a degree or diploma in civil engineering or other relevant discipline, and extensive experience in... North Wales
Recruiter: Conwy County Borough Council

Principal Development Co-ordinator

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
Leading on the review of Major Development Proposals. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Highways Development Management (HDM) Manager

Gloucestershire County Council
£53,445.00 - £58,008.00 + MRS
To oversee all aspects of Highways Development Management from pre application discussions to road adoption. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Principal Development Engineer

Gloucestershire County Council
£33,799.00 - £38,813.00 + 12% MRS
You will be responsible for undertaking design audit of third party developer works under Section 38 and 278 of the Highways Act 1980. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Environment

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Southwark London Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Southwark London Borough Council
Up to £136,000
A fairer future for all Southwark, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Southwark London Borough Council

Parks Development Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£26,999 - £29,636 per annum
You will work with community groups, organisations, ward members, residents and colleagues in order to... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Commercial Business Development Manager - Trade Waste x1, Waste Disposal Contract x1

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
Are you an experienced and collaborative commercial manager with experience in waste services supporting public sector transformation and change? Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Public Space Protection Enforcement Officer - 4 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 to £23,836
These posts are fixed term for 2 years due to funding. Looking to appoint at Grade 7.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Head of Infrastructure & Facilities

East Riding of Yorkshire Council
circa 100k
We are seeking a Head of Infrastructure & Facilities to lead the strategic management of the service in a unique and exciting opportunity for a... Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire
Recruiter: East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Senior Professional and Technical Officer – Project Manager

Bristol City Council
£32,910 - £34,728
We are seeking to appoint a Project Manager, to work in the Transport Service, to help support the delivery of the above plans. Bristol
Recruiter: Bristol City Council

Policy Advisor – The Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN)

Department for Transport
£37,803
Look to the sky for a great career opportunity Woking, Surrey
Recruiter: Department for Transport

Skilled Road Worker (TRR)

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£26,025 - £31,536 depending on knowledge, skills and experience
Do you want to be part of a supportive team and use an innovative method of working on the highway? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Director of Transport & Sustainability

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£93,098 - £102,841
This dynamic role will see you provide strategic leadership to our transport strategy Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Fleet Monitoring Officer

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£29.766 - £30.711
An opportunity has arisen in the Fleet & Waste Strategy Team for a Fleet Monitoring Officer on a 6-month secondment. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Highways Customer Communications Officer

North Yorkshire County Council
£27,741 to £30,451
We are looking for a strong communicator to join our Highways Team in Boroughbridge.   Boroughbridge, York
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Assistant Engineer - Grade 2

Northumberland County Council
£24,313 and £26,999
We are looking for candidates to fill the post of Assistant Engineer. Morpeth, Northumberland
Recruiter: Northumberland County Council

Street Cleaning Operative / Driver

Barnet London Borough Council
Competitive Salary
We are looking for hard working, motivated, reliable people to join our team. Barnet (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recruiter: Barnet London Borough Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Shell celebrates 100 years of bitumen
  • Why we need to be more strategic about safety
  • Major reforms aim to close cycling gap
View the latest issue

Latest Video