News ID: 151176
Published: 0228 GMT May 11, 2016

New sensors could cut millions from gritting costs

New sensors could cut millions from gritting costs

'Winter is Coming', the motto of the House of Stark, from the hit TV series Game of Thrones, warns of the inevitable onset of bad weather and bad times, and implies the need to prepare.

Researchers, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) at the University of Birmingham have clearly taken note, Physorg reported.

They have been developing sensors that could cut millions from road-gritting costs and help local authorities be ready for the darker days ahead.

Unnecessary gritting of roads and car parks could be avoided and road safety in cold weather boosted, thanks to these new internet-connected, temperature sensors that have already been successfully trialed in Birmingham, London and elsewhere across the country.

Fitted to lampposts, for example, the low-cost devices collect and transmit a non-stop stream of data on road-surface temperatures that local authorities, highways agencies and other organizations can use to target precisely where gritting is needed — and where it isn't.

The sensors have been developed by meteorologists at Birmingham in conjunction with Amey plc, the Oxford-based engineering consultancy and infrastructure support specialists.

Each of the hand-sized sensors costs only around £200, compared with the £10,000 or so needed to maintain a weather forecasting station like those currently relied on by local authorities to help them make tough decisions on when and where to grit.

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