Use of Roadstuds
A short history...
Percy Shaw invented the first glass cats-eye roadstud in the UK town of Halifax. After extensive testing the department of transport adopted a national policy to use Percy Shaw’s cats-eye on its major routes.
The cats-eye roadstud was used on the first motorway and by the end of the 1960’s cats-eyes were being used in all the lane markings on the majority of our national trunk road network.
A surface-mounted or “stick-on” roadstud was developed in the USA by Sidney A Heenan of the Amerace Corporation who introduced a prismatic reflector encapsulated into a plastic body, which could be applied to the surface of a carriageway. This Stimsonite product offered a much faster installation than the traditional cats-eye and as a result was used throughout the rapidly expanding Interstate road network, making North America the largest user of roadstuds in the world.
The UK identified the need for a cheaper, self cleaning reflector roadstud for use at the edge of main carriageways to give increased nighttime visibility. The US Stimsonite product was identified as the solution and the type 88 or 911 ‘stims’ (as commonly referred to by contractors) were imported and 1987 Stimsonite® Corporation supported a UK driven innovation to develop a new, smaller, low impact traffic resistant stick-on roadstud for use anywhere within a scheme. The new 948 offered an exceptional high reflex and low cost combination which made it a real alternative to the previously used cats-eye and was specified for use on UK roads. Though initially successful, the 948 was found lacking as traffic density, especially heavy goods increased and the product life expectancy reduced. Tougher variations, such as the 953 were introduced, but the ever increasing traffic volumes meant that something new was needed which combined the high reflective qualities of the 948 but with a far greater degree of durability.
In the 1980s, Stimsonite Corporation introduced a reflector incorporated and protected into a “H” shape metal casting for use in the snow plough regions of North America. This highly successful 101 type snowplough marker, was launched into the UK in 1999 by Roadcraft and Fleming as a long life solution. The marker quickly gained support, but contractors needed specialised installation equipment which limited the uptake. As a result of the initial response, RoadCraft and Fleming went on to develop a more acceptable UK long life variation and in 2003 launched the 301 stud, which incorporated a metal cast base with the highly regarded 290 3M prismatic reflector which had received much praise over many years of use.
A growing global market
The worldwide market for roadstuds is around 110 million. North America has the largest market share with approximately 46 million “Sun markers” or stick-ons” and 11 million “snowplough” types. The UK is second with between 11-12 million units installed and global installation of studs continues to increase particularly in the Irish Republic and new members of the EEC and also the Far East and Central and South America.
With recent innovation, roadstuds have become more technically proficient giving engineers and contractors much wider choice. Studs can be temporary or permanent, depressible or non Depressible, inset or surface applied, basic glass or engineered micro prismatic, protective coated or non-coated. Roadstuds are also classed as passive which as its name suggest only returns reflex when directed from an external light source or active, which actively emits retro reflective light.
Conforming to standards
Roadstuds have been tested for conformity of use in Europe as detailed within a standard EN 1463-1 -2 and in the UK roadstuds have to legally comply to requirements of classification taken from BSEN 1463 and detailed within the Traffic Signs Regulation and General Directions (TSRGD)2002. For more information about Roadstud regulations click here.
Helping you make the right choice
Although the original cats-eye is held in high regard, roadstuds have come a long way from Percy Shaw’s original innovation. Engineers and contractors now have a wide choice of studs, which need to be matched with the needs of their contract and safety standards. Help in choosing the right stud is only a phone call away. We know everything there is to know about the choice available, their use and the legislation they have to comply with. Call us now on +44 (0)1934 825 850 and let us guide you through the decision to ensure you make a successful choice which meets all your criteria.