We need to look at changing specs, sustainability chief warns

29/11/2019
Dominic Browne

The head of sustainable engineering and climate adaption at Transport Scotland has said it is time to consider changing specifications in road markings and highways materials to tackle climate change.

Speaking at the Road Safety Markings Association (RSMA) conference this month, Graham Edmond outlined a range of issues around updating the network and the role markings could play in the transition.

‘It is time to look at specifications to see if there is anything more carbon friendly,’ he said.

‘It is time to think about everything. That’s not just the specification; it’s the mind of the client. We have to be open to innovations. If you have different ideas to what the standards say I want to encourage you to try them out.

‘We should encourage innovation to help the standards change.’

Speaking to Highways magazine, he advised contractors to look at the potential of cold lay materials and anything that requires less energy and therefore less carbon.

‘Road makings need to be part of a wider intelligent, designed solution to placemaking and traffic management that is desirable, safe, fit for purpose and easy to understand,’ he told the RSMA as he discussed the future of the industry.

He also raised the concept of markings and studs providing more information, to drivers and using sensors and connected assets to help traffic management.

Scotland is helping lead the way on this with the new Forth Bridge having one of the largest networks of sensors in Europe and the CAV Forth project, which will run autonomous bus journeys across the bridge from next year.   

Discussing the wider picture in Scotland, he also referenced the recently released draft National Transport Strategy, which puts an emphasis on reducing the need to travel and on maintenance, and said that future ‘investment will reflect that’.

He also highlighted that research had been undertaken by the Scottish Roads Research Board into the adhesiveness of road markings.

Mr Edmond highlighted that 37% of CO2 emissions in Scotland are down to transport.

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