Forums Forums Traffic Signals Stainless steel road studs

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    Paul Clark


    Thank you for your comments. I agree that the installation of stainless steel studs is more time consuming than applying painted ones, but that is usually the way when, as I see it, a job is done properly. The benefits follow in the long term. I had not considered that some maintenance engineers would regard the drilled stud hole as point of future failure from which a crack might propagate. As studs are laid in a line it might reasonably be expected that a crack would form joining them together, but I have never seen this or any individual crack starting at a stud position. Consequently, this seems an unfounded concern on their part.

    The large authority adjacent to mine uses stainless steel studs as a matter of course and have done so for many years, without it seems attracting the ire of the motorcycle fraternity. They have done so for the reasons that I wish to use them, longevity and professional appearance. If there were a road marking system that was more durable than thermoplastic markings everyone would use that. Why would anyone choose not to use a superior alternative if it were available? In the specialist case of road studs a superior alternative is available so it is odd that so many argue against the use of it apparently on the basis of concerns for which I can find no evidence.

    I still hope someone can point me toward the convincing evidence that stainless steel studs are a genuine safety problem, not just a perceived one, evidence that shows actual accidents caused by their use. Nothing has been put forward so far. If, as I suspect, no such evidence exists then, given the benefits to be gained, I should logically be able to persuade my colleagues to abandon their objections to their use.


    Hi Paul

    In my experience, some authorities shy away from metal studs to avoid adding additional metalwork into the carriageway. While it seems a trivial amount, I knew several highways maintenance engineers who felt strongly against adding any additional because of the extra work involved during R&R and surfacing schemes. They also disliked having the surface ‘punctured’, as it might become a future point of failure.

    Regarding motorcycling, I believe this is commonly and widely felt by those who ride. Even white lining is slippery when wet, and metalwork is thought to be treacherously so. Follow a motorbike and you will often see them riding to avoid manhole covers etc.

    Whether this is just perception, or if there is proof, it would be easy to portray the use of metal studs as “anti-motorcyclist”. There are strong cases for using metal studs – the lack of wear and reduced maintenance. This may offset any real or perceived risk. I personally would not use the appearance of them as an argument, regardless of evidence.

    Paul Clark

    In my opinion stainless steel road studs give a traffic signal site with pedestrian facilities a professional looking appearance and finish when compared to the alternative of painted studs. They also last much longer as traffic wears painted studs away relatively quickly.

    I have been told metal studs should not be used because they represent a skid hazard to motorcyclists. I suspect this is an urban myth that has attained the status of fact through constant repetition. I have been unable to find any evidence that road studs have caused, or been suspected of causing, any accidents to these, or other, road users. The surface area of road studs encountered by a motorcyclist during a journey must be trivial compared to other metalwork in the carriageway. If the miniscule area of studs were such a danger, then motorcyclists would be coming to grief on other metalwork with relentless frequency and I am not aware that this is the case.

    My question is simply, is there any convincing evidence that metal roads studs are such a hazard that the benefits of using them are outweighed by the actual risks they pose, not the perceived ones?

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