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Sway's Flashing SLR Project

Sway's flashing Speed Limit Reminder has been christened "Vera".

Vera is now out and about in the parish of Sway working 24x7 helping to keep our roads safer. Since being deployed in early December 2018, it has been moved around every couple of weeks to locations authorised by Hampshire County Council's highways department.

During the first 2 months of deployment, Vera was triggered 44,000 times by speeding vehicles exceeding 35 mph, with highest numbers per day being recorded on the B3055 coming down Birchy Hill towards Meadens Garage, and Pitmore Lane southbound towards the junction with Mountpleasant Lane. These two locations have each recorded almost twice as many speeding vehicles per day as at the third most busy site. The league table so far is:

Location of VASLRAverage number of speeding
vehicles per day (>=35 mph)
Annual Equivalent Rate
Pitmore Lane1,203438,940
B3055 Birchy Hill1,169426,859
B3055 by St James Road660240,754
B3055 by Station Road598218,198

(last updated on 16th February 2019)

When at Brighton Road, the VASLR sometimes detects vehicles while they are still within the 40mph zone, hence any statistics from that site cannot be treated as meaningful. However the positioning of the VASLR at that site is still highly important as a traffic calming measure. 

What is a flashing SLR?

A Vehicle Activated flashing Speed Limit Reminder sign is one that displays the speed limit along with an appropriate message when it detects that an approaching vehicle is exceeding the speed limit. It differs from a Speed Indicator Display (SID) in that the latter will show the vehicle's speed, whereas the SLR actively reminds the driver of the speed limit. An unattended SID can often act as a challenge to some drivers who may attempt to discover just how high it goes. An SLR does not.

An example of a Speed Limit Reminder (SLR)
flashing SLR  

An example of a Speed Indicator Display (SID)
SID Dec 2015

Why does Sway need an SLR?

Since April 2014, Sway Community SpeedWatch (CSW) have been monitoring the speeds of vehicles on roads in Sway Parish that were identified as potentially having a speeding problem. Since July of that year, detailed statistics have been collected from the SID used by SpeedWatch. These statistics show the speed of every vehicle that went past (a total of nearly 62,000 as of November 2017). From these, we have been able to determine the number of people who exceed different speed thresholds ie around 26,700 exceed 30mph, 10,700 exceed 35mph, 2,200 exceed 40mph and so on. Since we also know the total number of vehicles that have passed (62,000), we know the percentage of those who exceed these thresholds. Our CSW webpage contains a number of statistics along with detailed reports going back to early 2016.

These statistics show that overall, 43% of motorists speed, and 40% of those that speed, do so at over the police enforcement threshold. Some locations are worse than others. For instance, at Arnewood Bridge overall we have seen 60% of motorists speeding with 49% of those at over the police enforcement threshold. That's 56 vehicles per hour that could be reported to the police.

Sway CSW is very effective at educating drivers to reduce their speeds; we regularly note drivers slowing down as soon as they observe us and the numbers we see speeding now are lower than when we began in 2014. The problem is that we are only able to be out there for a few hours each month - equivalent over the year to about 1.5% of the time. When CSW are not active, too many inattentive drivers are not being actively reminded of the speed limit.  

 A flashing SLR can be out there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

How effective is an SLR?

Anecdotally, most people double check their speed when they see one of these, and most try and slow down before the sign is activated. The reasons why are probably varied and complex, but often it will break down to the simple fact that most people do not want to be seen to be breaking the law. The sign only activates when someone is exceeding the speed limit so it's fairly obvious who triggered it.

Hampshire County Council have stated that on average, vehicle-activated signs have proven to have a beneficial effect on traffic speeds and can reduce traffic speeds on 30 mph roads by around 4% to 7%.

Analysis of the effect that this reduction in the speed of traffic through Sway suggests that this could reduce the numbers of vehicles speeding by anything from 24% to 44%. So for example, if the device was mounted at Arnewood Bridge, the numbers speeding could reduce from 56 per hour down to 42 per hour, and maybe even as low as 31 per hour.

Who will pay for the SLR?

In September 2017, Sway Parish Council approved the earmarking of £5,000 from reserves for the purchase of a Vehicle Activated flashing Speed Limit Reminder along with the infrastructure required to position it at three locations around the Parish.

Where will the SLR be put?

There are strict rules on the siting of such an SLR. It must be somewhere safe and easily visible. Advice from Hampshire County Council is that such a device should be moved regularly, typically every 2 weeks or so. They say that leaving it too long in any one place results in motorists eventually disregarding it.

The chosen locations will necessarily require the full support of Hampshire County Council, New Forest District Council and Hampshire Constabulary. Some locations may well also require permission from the Verderers. Hampshire County Council have policies relating to the purchase and deployment of such equipment by the parishes. adobe icon Parish Purchased Speed Signing Policy and guidance 19.02 [1Mb].

In October 2017, Sway's Planning and Transport Committee agreed that recommendations on where to locate this SLR should be delegated to the Sway Community SpeedWatch team. Subsequently in November 2017 it was agreed that this process should also involve the residents of Sway through various media including this Parish Council website.

Ideas for locations were (in no particular order):

  • A - Durnstown - positioned to slow down traffic coming into Sway from the open forest. Location might be near the Hare and Hounds.
  • B - Arnewood Bridge Road - again positioned to slow down traffic coming into Sway. Location might be close to the bridge over Avon Water, or further South West up the hill nearer the double bends.
  • C - Arnewood Bridge Road - again slowing down northbound traffic coming into Sway but closer to the Station Road/South Sway Lane crossroads by Kitchen Makers.
  • D - Brighton Road - positioned to slow down traffic coming into Sway from the open forest. Location might be close to Moser Grove.
  • E - Pitmore Lane South - positioned to slow down traffic coming into Sway from the direction of the Wheel Inn. Location might be close to North Common Lane.
  • F - Pitmore Lane Middle - positioned to slow down traffic coming into Sway from the direction of the Wheel Inn. Location might be close to Kings Lane.
  • G - Pitmore Lane North - positioned to slow down Northbound traffic about to enter the open forest. Location might be close to the cattle grid near Shirley Holmes.
  • H - Pitmore Lane North - positioned close to Chapel Lane to slow down Westbound Traffic about to go past the allotments.
  • I - Durnstown - Similar to A but positioned closer to the cattle grid to slow down traffic coming into Sway from the open forest.
  • J - Birchy Hill - positioned near the bottom of the hill just South of the dangerous Church Lane/Back Lane staggered cross roads where pedestrian are often forced into the road due to presence of parked cars - to slow down traffic heading North towards the open forest.

Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge the map showing these possible locations.
Map showing possible VASLR locations Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window

On 8th March 2018, Hampshire County Council responded positively to our inquiries and agreed that all the above locations look feasible. They have stated

In most cases this would need to be by post socket which allows a post to be locked into position when the SLR is operating and then removed when not required. This approach ensures that unnecessary street clutter is minimised. Some of the locations are alongside footways and in these cases the clearance between the lower edge of the SLR and paving will need to be at least 2.1m. You have identified at least one site that is within the open Forest and therefore the provision of a post socket will need to be considered by the Verderers as the roadside verge is grazing land that is not part of the publicly maintainable highway.

The next stage for the Parish Council is to identify the precise locations where the SLR may be placed...

We then held a consultation for residents of Sway to choose their top choices.

In a survey conducted between March 23 and May 10 2018, 84 valid responses were received. The survey asked for people's top 3 choices of site in order of preference. The survey also allowed those with other views to voice them.

Summary of results:

86 responses were received, of which 2 were duplicates leaving 84 valid responses.

9 were in 17-34 age group, 61 in the 35-64 age group and 14 over 65s.

A) Durnstown Hare and Hounds61192649
B) Arnewood Bridge7421331
C) Kitchen Makers4761732
D) Brighton Road101232557
E) Pitmore South20248
F) Pitmore Middle02135
G) Pitmore Cattle Grid2351017
H) Pitmore North332817
I) Durnstown Cattle Grid8672143
J) Birchy Hill112102347

Note that weighted votes are calculated by multiplying the number of first choice votes by 3 and second choice by 2.

The results gave Durnstown as top favourite (options A and I), followed by Brighton Road (Option D) and then Birchy Hill (Option J). Since it may be possible to utilise existing street furniture at Durnstown, it may also be possible to implement at a fourth location which from the survey results would be further along the B3055 below Station Road around the location of "Kitchen Makers" (Option C).

Costs associated with the VASLR:

Hampshire spec SLR with x2 batteries £2650+VAT

Brackets £60+VAT (one set needed)

Post sockets (supply and fit) approx. £560+VAT each

(3 needed)

Posts (supply) approx. £172+VAT each (1 needed)

TOTAL: £4562

adobe icon SLR Consultation Report [583kb]

Subsequent analysis of the chosen four locations have suggested that existing posts holding traffic signage might be used for the flashing SLR, which may mean us being able to increase the number of locations without any increase in costs.