National Highways will be showcasing a number of initiatives including digital tools designed to help keep everyone safe on our roads at the forthcoming Emergency Services Show.

The event takes place at Birmingham’s NEC on 19 and 20 September 2023. Cited as the premier event that showcases innovations in the emergency services sector, it is expected to attract more than 16,000 blue light professionals and 500 plus leading exhibitors.

Among other things there will be a simulator, a traffic officer vehicle and video footage displayed at the National Highways stand to demonstrate how the organisation works with partners to address incidents on the roads network and trains staff to prepare for every scenario.

A spokesperson for National Highways said: “The Emergency Services Show is a key event in our calendar where we engage with thousands of frontline responders from the police, ambulance and Fire and Rescue services. The event also includes operational and procurement teams, key decision makers, and all personnel looking for technologies, equipment and solutions to enhance emergency response and improve public safety.

“We will be promoting CLEAR (Collision, Lead, Evaluation, Act, Reopen), a National Highways initiative helping to drive collaboration at incidents across our network, to minimise the impact of road incidents with a joined-up approach between blue light partners.”

Meanwhile, Andy Butterfield, Customer Services Director for Operations, will be speaking in the Innovation Theatre on September 19 at 1.20pm – the session is called: ‘Range anxiety and how National Highways can help you’.

Here are more details of what you will be able to see at the National Highways stand:

An Operation Tramline cab: Operation Tramline’s unmarked HGV tractor units, funded by National Highways and used by partner police forces, aim to change driver behaviour and encourage compliance with driving laws.  They tackle dangerous driving such as illegally using mobile phones, not wearing seatbelts or ignoring red X signs.

Operation Tramline (pictured) targets all vehicles on our roads.  The elevated position in the cab, enables police officers to see offences being committed and allows them to film and record evidence of unsafe driving behaviour by driving alongside other vehicles.  Drivers are then pulled over by police patrol vehicles following a short distance behind. The cabs have a derestricted speed limiter which means they can travel at speeds up to the national speed limit, and flashing blue/red lights have been installed for use by police forces in an emergency.  From the period April 2015 – August 2023, there were 40,104 offences recorded with the most prevalent being seat belt offences (11,907) and mobile phone offences (10,326).

A Traffic Officer mixed media driving simulator: National Highways is using a groundbreaking Mixed Reality driving simulator, built working with MXT, to immerse Traffic Officers in a realistic re-creation of their everyday job patrolling the nation’s road network and performing essential tasks and manoeuvres.

The simulator driver wears a mixed reality headset, built by Finnish technology company Varjo, as they operate a motion platform and pilot a virtual vehicle along a virtual road network populated by virtual, computer-driven, vehicles. The driver’s instructor observes and controls the simulation via a networked desktop computer on which they have a suite of tools and a dynamic environment, at their fingertips, to customise scenarios that meet their learning requirements.

As part of the comprehensive curriculum of training for National Highways Traffic Officers, the mixed reality driving simulator helps to bridge the gap between theory and live implementation of essential skills on the road network. It is highly realistic, immersive and cost-effective as well as offering a risk-free environment in which to hone those essential skills. 

Videos of incursions on our roads network: Incursions are one of the most common and dangerous hazards faced by our road workers and Traffic Officers. National Highways will be demonstrating incursion alarm and CCTV equipment on the stand, relaying video footage of incursions, how the incursion alarms are activated and demonstrating that it improves the safety of operatives during incursion incidents whilst working in carriageway closures.

SVN and real-time footage: SVN is an online real-time visualisation tool which combines multiple data sources to provide a single view of activity happening on the network. It is aimed at assisting our operations centres to help with early identification of incidents on the network which empowers greater situational awareness, resulting in better targeted Traffic Officer deployment.

Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention: Our Commercial Vehicle Incident Prevention (CVIP) programme is responsible for identifying key causes of commercial vehicle incidents and designing and implementing interventions to reduce commercial vehicle related incidents. We are continuously seeking support and looking to engage with the industry as well as establishing collaborative partnerships with other organisations, such as the police and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to reduce these types of incidents and improve safety.

Bridgestone will be on the stand with a display cabinet full of collected debris and their Bridgestone’s Fleet Debris Study – the first of its kind to ever be compiled. The report provides an analysis of various types of debris collected at fleet depots and their potential to cause penetrations or puncture related damages to tyres, leading to tyre failure or road hazards on the motorways. The report is so valuable in drawing the attention of fleet operators to their responsibilities in ensuring they aren’t damaging their tyres before joining our roads.

For more details about the Emergency Services Show, please visit: