American Trials: Reducing off-road and skid related accidents

The SCRIM® built for the FHWA in America by W.D.M. Limited, which is being evaluated by researchers at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), has successfully competed in a comparison trial with locked wheel friction testers in Texas.

The Federal Highways Administration took delivery of the SCRIM road survey vehicle more than 18 months ago and is now funding a project to analyze continuous stretches of pavement in six US states to determine whether improving highway materials or design could reduce crashes and save lives.

More than 35,000 people die annually on America’s roads, more than half in off-road or skid related accidents. Government figures put the cost of each death to society at more than $9m US.

The SCRIM, which measures wet-road skid resistance, was integrated into an American Volvo truck and can operate continually for 150 miles on a full tank of water.

American Departments of Transport traditionally use locked wheel friction trailers to measure surface friction at discreet intervals, typically at quarter to half a mile intervals, while the SCRIM measures the road surface continuously, with data being recorded every four inches. It is also capable of measuring around horizontal curves (corners), which are crucial locations for friction demand.

Engineers attending the trials at the Texas Transportation Institute set up special video cameras to view the SCRIM wheel in slow motion during correlation testing between the locked wheel and SCRIM systems.

VTTI researchers began the SCRIM project and data collection phase in Washington and will include testing in Florida, Indiana and Texas.

W.D.M. Limited has manufactured multiple devices over the past four decades and has SCRIM vehicles in use in 18 countries worldwide. SCRIM measures grade, cross slope, horizontal curvature and macro-texture (MPD), while synchronized video enables data to be accurately located together with inertial GPS. An additional option is longitudinal IRI.

The Company is UK’s leading manufacturer and provider of highway survey and monitoring equipment is also the UK’s largest road survey contractor, serving all UK Government agencies and the majority of local authorities.

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