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> Robin Hood Lights
Lee
post Jan 14 2014, 11:13 AM
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http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/2014/council...-for-third-time

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Thames Valley Police told NewburyToday yesterday that anyone caught travelling though a red light could still be prosecuted, even if the lights are frozen on red.


Seriously? What a line to end the article with....

So, rather than aid the flow of traffic, the TVP will sit and watch for people crossing the red light line?
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Lee
post Jan 14 2014, 11:14 AM
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Looks like I posted this within a minute of another thread on same topic smile.gif

Clearly worth discussion though.
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On the edge
post Jan 14 2014, 12:11 PM
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Well we have no thread specifically on this subject and it certainly is worth a debate. The issues with these lights really does say something about the state of local government in this area.

1. Who would agree a contract to manage a key strategic installation in the area without a wholly satisfactory emergency fault management process being in place. The 'day one' excuse was that the engineer lived a long way from Newbury!!

2. Why did no one, in the Council's Emergency or Traffic Departments, or anyone from the Police, or the Highways Agency have the gumption just to switch the lights off?

3. Why are WBC not holding an investigation into this (certainly for their customers) serious failure? Is there something to hide?

4. Why is the local Police official response simply to make inane threats? Shame they can't act in this bullying manner with real criminals!

5. Why have we no competency locally to fix strategic failures like this, which if you think about it, can't be that complex. After all we've had electric signals for nigh on 100 years.

Altogether a sorry tale and one that has probably cost the local economy a great deal. Do strategic traffic signals break and remain unfixed for so long in other towns? The firm concerned must be large enough to have more than one competent traffic signal engineer surely?

What a mess, of course, it's the usual two fingers from our local administration, but is anyone really that surprised!


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Blake
post Jan 14 2014, 03:19 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jan 14 2014, 12:11 PM) *
Well we have no thread specifically on this subject and it certainly is worth a debate. The issues with these lights really does say something about the state of local government in this area.

1. Who would agree a contract to manage a key strategic installation in the area without a wholly satisfactory emergency fault management process being in place. The 'day one' excuse was that the engineer lived a long way from Newbury!!

2. Why did no one, in the Council's Emergency or Traffic Departments, or anyone from the Police, or the Highways Agency have the gumption just to switch the lights off?

3. Why are WBC not holding an investigation into this (certainly for their customers) serious failure? Is there something to hide?

4. Why is the local Police official response simply to make inane threats? Shame they can't act in this bullying manner with real criminals!

5. Why have we no competency locally to fix strategic failures like this, which if you think about it, can't be that complex. After all we've had electric signals for nigh on 100 years.

Altogether a sorry tale and one that has probably cost the local economy a great deal. Do strategic traffic signals break and remain unfixed for so long in other towns? The firm concerned must be large enough to have more than one competent traffic signal engineer surely?

What a mess, of course, it's the usual two fingers from our local administration, but is anyone really that surprised!


I agree with all the above.

This is typical of the shambolic disaster West Berks Council specialises in and then later denies fault for as if we all think they are honest and responsible. This shambles would shame a banana republic.
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user23
post Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM
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Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.
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BMR
post Jan 14 2014, 06:04 PM
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I know that WBC are always good for a bashing, but what responsibility (if any) do they have for the lights on the Robin Hood?

As an aside, this seems to be a relatively new problem. The light have functioned pretty well for many years, so why is there a problem now? More to the point, the phasing of the lights has been changed relatively recently, with the result that traffica can be held for ridiculously long periods of time at individual lights. For example driving north on the A339, the lights remain red for one minute and forty-five seconds. Drivers are getting used to this and taking more risks. Why has the phasing been changed, and has this change had any effect on the reliability of the lights?
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newres
post Jan 14 2014, 06:35 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM) *
Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.

Things go wrong. That's life. It's how you deal with them that is the issue. Trying to blame someone else isn't very helpful rolleyes.gif
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MontyPython
post Jan 14 2014, 06:39 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM) *
Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.


If you have User23's numpty colleagues creating poor contracts with the private sector, then the service may be bad. Has no one at WBC got any commercial acumen?
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The Optimist
post Jan 14 2014, 06:42 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM) *
Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.


Are Siemens a private company? I thought they were listed on several exchanges which would make them a public company.
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Simon Kirby
post Jan 14 2014, 07:53 PM
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QUOTE (MontyPython @ Jan 14 2014, 06:39 PM) *
Has no one at WBC got any commercial acumen?

Of course. But they gave it away for a £1.


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r.bartlett
post Jan 14 2014, 09:01 PM
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well I drove through the red there today a it took 40 minutes from Sainsbury's to there. No sign of police and in all honesty they would have been hard pressed to stop all of us.
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On the edge
post Jan 14 2014, 10:03 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM) *
Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.

An even worse example of how to grant and manage contracts Don't you think? tongue.gif


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motormad
post Jan 14 2014, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Jan 14 2014, 10:03 PM) *
An even worse example of how to grant and manage contracts Don't you think? tongue.gif


It's ok, whenever a public sector organisation sub contract work to a private sector organisation, you can always tell who's fault it is when something goes wrong...


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Exhausted
post Jan 14 2014, 11:22 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Jan 14 2014, 10:09 PM) *
It's ok, whenever a public sector organisation sub contract work to a private sector organisation, you can always tell who's fault it is when something goes wrong...


Whilst we can all try and find someone to blame, there obviously isn't any expertise in WBC or with any other council that can manage traffic light control systems. They therefore have to sub it out but as part of that, manage the placement and functionality with their technical partner. Siemens are one of the major, if not the only, candidate capable of managing such a huge technical and logistic problem. Would we expect every traffic light set to have an engineer living round the corner.

I know that the Robin Hood lights were upgraded a couple of years ago but I don't know if that included the control box electronics. Siemens can only repair a system but if an upgrade is required, it is fairly certain that the agency responsible for that set of lights will have to put their hand in their coffers and find funding for a new control system. What peeves me is that the control system should sense that they have failed and perhaps switch all the lights to amber or switch them off. Trying to explain to your insurance company that you went over a red light and the idiot doing 50mph through a green light totalled your car might be a bit difficult and if you damaged somebody in that car the old bill would be very interested in apportioning blame.
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blackdog
post Jan 14 2014, 11:32 PM
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There's a fairly standard low-tech solution to failed lights - put a bag over them. If they do this to all the lights on the Robin Hood all motorists will be forewarned that they need to take care.
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MontyPython
post Jan 15 2014, 12:26 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Jan 14 2014, 05:50 PM) *
Says in the article that the lights are maintained by private company Siemens, for the whole of Berkshire.

Not a great example for those that promote the Private Sector or a potential Berkshire wide roads authority.



So can you explain which part of their contract Siemens failed to adhere to? I presume that there is some kind of SLA (service Level agreement)!

Or is it a case that WBC didn't get a suitable SLA - in which case why not?
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motormad
post Jan 15 2014, 01:40 AM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jan 14 2014, 11:22 PM) *
Whilst we can all try and find someone to blame, there obviously isn't any expertise in WBC or with any other council that can manage traffic light control systems. They therefore have to sub it out but as part of that, manage the placement and functionality with their technical partner. Siemens are one of the major, if not the only, candidate capable of managing such a huge technical and logistic problem. Would we expect every traffic light set to have an engineer living round the corner.

I know that the Robin Hood lights were upgraded a couple of years ago but I don't know if that included the control box electronics. Siemens can only repair a system but if an upgrade is required, it is fairly certain that the agency responsible for that set of lights will have to put their hand in their coffers and find funding for a new control system. What peeves me is that the control system should sense that they have failed and perhaps switch all the lights to amber or switch them off. Trying to explain to your insurance company that you went over a red light and the idiot doing 50mph through a green light totalled your car might be a bit difficult and if you damaged somebody in that car the old bill would be very interested in apportioning blame.



I am aware of the logistics of it, but there are contracts (or should be) that are written up as part of the scope written up by the Council. In all likelyhood when they wanted to arrange a supplier (Siemens in this case) to maintain/manage/support their traffic light systems they would have put out a RFT basically stating what they want. As part of that would be a maintenance schedule should be means for emergency support, contingencies, EG what if something goes wrong, how long before an engineer can provide a workaround and then how long before the problem can be fixed. When companies come back with a Tender response and are selected then there should be some sort of get back.

Legally unfortunately you are not allowed to have a constant amber (which would otherwise provide a workaround).
There are "phases" EG red, red+amber, green, and then amber before being red again. There are actually laws and requirements on the amount of time a red+amber light can be on for, or an amber light, as these are ultimately warnings, alerting you to an imminent change in traffic flow, so cannot be indefinite. The only workaround that would be legal would be to have everything OFF. If everything was green I would fear there would be some fault liable to the council or the traffic light maintainers in the event of an accident with everything stating "clear to go".

While not directly related I am in the business of computers and system maintenance, installation, etc. And as part of our agreements with have response times and resolution time SLAs which we must comply with or we are hit with large fees. For example if we have a network component go down with some clients we have a guaranteed 4 hour FIX.

For example today we had a failed power supply unit on a customers core telephone unit. I'm not sure exactly what level of service this client receives (as I am away in the North on a pre-booked job so not really paying attention to the daily musings of the general support desk) but they had a replacement part taken to site by an engineer, replaced and now things were working.

Sometimes we have times were something has failed, and it's an old part, that we cannot get spares for, and we have to manage, we come up with solutions to the problems or a suitable workaround where we can. It's very rare we'll just say "Tough titties, you're on your own". Because it doesn't help your customer, it doesn't help you as a company (makes you look like tosspots) and doesn't help the end users effect (in this case us as road users).

I do not understand the technicalities of how traffic lights are managed as I don't really care. But it would seem to be with my thinking cap on - to be nothing more than basic logical circuits, loopback wires in the road with simple logic switches.. <IF loop a = active, traffic lights group 1 sequence start..> (where the sequence is perhaps allowing them to be green for 30 seconds or until X amount of loopbacks on the adjacent circuit is triggered, eg a larger queue of traffic).

I would not imagine they are massively complicated and so to be told that control units, etc are unobtainable, old, whatever, then that to me would be unacceptable.

Likewise with the traffic lights, if not able to be configured/set up/reset from a remote location over either regular internet connection or perhaps more likely an ISDN line) that they would have engineers dotted around the country with a REASONABLE distance. Newbury is hardly in the middle of nowhere, it's an hour by train from London, likewise it's an hour from Bristol, an Hour from Southampton... I would have expected teams to have been working on (or even just turned them off) within the hour to be honest.

And worse still I think, the show from Thames Valley Police who were seeminngly unwilling to help out... at that time in the morning... coffee and doughnuts...


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Roost
post Jan 15 2014, 05:01 AM
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Was driving on the roundabout yesterday after someone posed the question about the police assisting with traffic control and a thought occurred to me.

Looking at the lane numbers and sizes, traffic approach speeds and traffic volume on the roundabout, how many people would it take to safely manage the traffic flow when the lights are out?

Oh the joys of random thoughts...


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ebalch
post Jan 15 2014, 08:35 AM
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I see the lights are back working again today. I'd be interested to see if we're enlightened (no pun intended) as to how long it took to fix yesterday's issue.

Sweepstake anybody on how long before they break again?
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dannyboy
post Jan 15 2014, 09:10 AM
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While not directly related I am in the business of computers and system maintenance, installation, etc. And as part of our agreements with have response times and resolution time SLAs which we must comply with or we are hit with large fees. For example if we have a network component go down with some clients we have a guaranteed 4 hour FIX



So 4 hours with the lights out is acceptable then MM?
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