New LED based traffic signs around Old Trafford

New LED based traffic signs around Old TraffordNew LED based traffic signs from LEDsynergy help with parking management around Old Trafford

Funded by LOCOG in 2012 as part of the Olympic sports venue initiative, the Old Trafford area of Manchester now has 76 new parking management signs installed that include informative LED displays to advise visitors to the area on ‘match days’ about the local parking regulations in force.

The project had an overall budget of around £250,000 which, in addition to funding the signage, covered installing new posts where needed and all the necessary cabling to get power to the signs. Andover based LED Synergy developed the solution, supplied each of the variable 55mm high white text display modules and the supporting communications hardware along with the web-browser based secure management software system, to update the signs in real time.

“This was an ambitious project, that had to be delivered in a demanding timeframe, particularly as it required getting a number of key stakeholders and local residents to buy into the project before it could be implemented,” explained Jeremy Harwood of LED Synergy. “Trafford Council first consulted with local residents across the nine separate wards covered by the scheme and having gained their agreement then applied to and was given Department for Transport approval for the new signs to be erected. Having initially been used for the international football matches during the Olympics the system is now in regular use for football matches and will be used for test cricket matches later this year. The signs could also potentially be used for other events in the area as each sign could be individually accessed and updated if required.”

“It is still early days but the new signs are definitely helping reduce parking congestion around the stadium on match days,” stated Kevan Ward from Trafford Council. “The facility to manage and update the signs remotely, at any time of day or night, is also proving a real benefit and means we have the ability to amend the local parking restrictions being imposed at short notice.”

Information on the next forthcoming event and which permits are valid in particular areas are transmitted to each of the signs via the built-in module and data-sim card. The secure web-based management software also means that Council staff can manage and update the signs remotely, at any time of day or night. This was a key requirement because although fixtures are known well in advance, kick‑off or start times can sometimes be altered at short notice and so impact the local parking restrictions being imposed.

Jeremy Harwood concluded: “This project has attracted considerable interest from other local authorities across the UK that want to better manage parking issues in and around ‘big venues’ or provide a flexible and variable solution to deal with particular bottlenecks. It is also feasible that wideband WiFi instead of the individual data-sim modems could be used to update the signs giving greater overall geographical control and also help reduce the cost of installation and operation still further.”

LED Synergy has a wealth of experience in developing and delivering cost effective signage for traffic management projects having recently completed the overhead gantry solution for the Severn Bridge toll booth scheme as well as currently undertaking projects at both the Dartford Crossing and on the M6. The company also completes a handful of LED display and scoreboard installations at sports stadia each month as well as undertaking many of the more challenging and demanding projects where full motion / full colour solutions are required - the commercial and retail sector being particularly relevant where the development of the management and control solution often has a critical role to play in the effectiveness of the overall solution.

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