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Saturday, September 05, 2015

End of the road for cats eyes

They were invented by Percy Shaw of Boothtown, Halifax, West Yorkshire and have been a fixture on British roads since the 1930s but now cats eyes are set for the scrap heap, with the UK Government proposing to phase them out and replace them with LED lights.

The Telegraph reports that Ministers are preparing to amend traffic legislation to allow a new generation of solar-powered LED road studs to be used on British roads which can be seen up to 1,000 yards ahead, 10 times further than cats eyes.

They say that the lights are capable of working for up to 10 days with just four hours of charge, and cost the same amount over the course of their life as traditional cats eyes:

Ministers have announced a consultation on amending the regulations to allow LED lights without reflective strips after admitting that they provide "extended visibility" and "better performance in poor weather conditions".

The consultation states: "Advances in technology have led to the development of studs that include only light emitting diodes, hardwired in tunnels and solar powered elsewhere.

"We propose amending the regulation to accommodate this technology. Traditional studs use reflectors or retroreflecting material which rely on headlight beams for their illumination.

"Active studs use internal light emitting diodes as their light source giving extended visibility distances and better performance in poor weather conditions over traditional studs." 

As the average life of a cats eye is two to three years before it needs replacing we could find this technology rolled out across the UK quite quickly.
Anorak note: there were other designs of reflective studs before Percy Shaw came along. His innovation was the self-cleaning mechanism which made them practical in British weather conditions.

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