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G-Light: The evolution of innovation

From Guardled® 2020 to G-Light 2022: the Spinea junction (on the Mestre bypass) is the laboratory for the performance and environmental progress of the Roadlink devices

  Per la versione in Italiano: https://www.stradeeautostrade.it/segnaletica-e-sicurezza/levoluzione-dellinnovazione/

The evolution of the “technological species” has returned to the place where it all began: it was the spring of 2020.

Spinea motorway exit, Mestre bypass, CAV management (Concessioni Autostradali Venete): here, just less than two years ago, GuardLED®, the polyurethane cladding for road safety barriers equipped with LED strip developed by Roadlink (https://www.guardled.it/), was baptized, able of giving the roadway uniform, eco-sustainable and “bottom-up” lighting. A revolution.

A little less than two years later, in January 2022, the same junction – but in the opposite direction – was equipped with further 128 mts. of G-Light, the GuardLED® “daughter” technological solution that combines ease of application on existing barriers with improved lighting performance.

G-Light at the Spinea junction
1. G-Light lights the lanes of the junction of Spinea, on the Passante di Mestre (2022)

The technological evolution, by its very nature, therefore does not stop. As both those who develop it and those who cultivate it programmatically know well, placing it at the center of their managerial action (CAV).

It is precisely this communion of intent that gives value to this “welcome return”, a sign of a continuity which – from “Spinea 2020” to “Spinea 2022” – has in the meantime been corroborated by multiple application experiences, all of great value, of technology GuardLED® seal (among those who have contributed most to its diffusion, also the AstepON Group): Verona Est (A4, Autostrada Brescia-Padova), Cava de ‘Tirreni (A3, Autostrade Meridionali), San Michele all’Adige (A22, Autostrada del Brennero), Casalecchio di Reno (A14, Autostrade per l’Italia). Until the return to Spinea: from the first GuardLED® to the last G-Light. Let’s try, in the following, to technically relate this evolutionary path.

GuardLED® during the day
2. The origin of innovation (Spinea 2020): daytime version of GuardLED®

The characteristics of the systems

First of all, we introduce some comparative considerations between the first GuardLED® installed in Spinea, to be exact at the beginning of May 2020 (it was the first installation ever) and G-Light.

GuardLED® is a complete cladding (polyurethane plus LED Strip) that can be installed only on tested GLH1BL2 and GLH2BL2 barriers. G-Light, on the other hand, is applied under the barrier beam and can be installed on all devices, without affecting their performance and characteristics.

GuardLED®, for its part, continues to be a multisectoral product with a refined design that concentrates safety functions in itself thanks to the alliance between materials and technologies: in the first case, the role of integral polyurethane should be emphasized, which gives shape to the device and makes it durable over time and with considerable shock absorption capacity (reduces the severity of the impact of vehicles, but also of motorcycles).

GuardLED® during the night
3. GuardLED® in night version (Spinea 2020)

Polyurethane is a two-component integral skin polymer that has an elastic layer on the surface. It is very resistant to abrasion and has infinite color possibilities.

Inside it has a compact closed cell sponge that gives it softness and elasticity, even at low temperatures, an essential factor for shock absorption. Likewise G-Light is made of polyurethane and is adaptable when cornering.

Beyond the basic characteristics, GuardLED® and G-light also differ in the methods of application on the barrier. The first because it completely covers the guardrail (also taking care of attenuating shocks), the second, on the other hand, due to the very fact that it is applied under the beam.

G-Light, specially designed to be applied on any type of barrier, was initially designed to be fixed on barriers with an angle of 90 ° with respect to the road pavement.

The innovative illumination of GuardLED®
4. GuardLED® 2020 for innovative lighting

Following the many cases encountered, such as roads with different slopes or barriers with different heights, the possibility of rotating the device with respect to the road surface was studied in order to be able to adapt to any situation.

A technology on the way

A common point between the two solutions is instead the technology, which constantly evolves over time following the evolution of electronics and LEDs. In these two years, for example, increasingly efficient performance has been achieved, also aimed at an ever greater reduction in both energy consumption and the dispersion of light not directed onto the asphalt.

As regards the first aspect, much work has been done on the LED Strip, which is more performing than the previous one, while for the second a more suitable cover has been studied in order to further reduce the light upwards and, therefore, more and more the light pollution.

G-Light in 2022
5. G-Light 2022: the evolution of innovation

The asymmetrical Khatod optical lens, which evenly distributes the light on the roadway at an optimal height of 40 cm from the ground, has remained the same.

Compared to 2020, GuardLED® technology is able to guarantee a higher average illuminance, a lower consumption per meter and an increase in the maximum length of the installation section.

With small adjustments and improvements, it was possible to distribute the light even better, concentrating as much light as possible in a two-lane carriageway. In this way, full compliance with the street lighting regulations (UNI EN 11248 and UNI EN 13201) is guaranteed, also satisfying the requirement for C0 conflict zones (lighting category based on street lighting with higher requirements).

The system is equipped with dimming in order to be used even in those cases where lower illuminance values ​​are required. Finally, G-Light can be adjusted to adapt to different road situations (slope, uneven surface, etc.).

The comparison between 2020 and 2022
6. The comparison between the years 2020 and 2022 at the tollgate of Spinea, on the Passante di Mestre (CAV)

The Casalecchio di Reno tests

In the installation carried out in Casalecchio, glare was analyzed, measuring the value of (fTI) as defined in the UNI EN 13201-4: 2016 standard, in order to verify the value of the percentage increase in contrast, necessary to maintain visibility of an object respect to the road surface, in the presence of debilitating glare produced by the lighting system.

With the aim of evaluating all light sources with a debilitating effect on vision, the test is carried out in the condition of ordinary use of the LED lighting system installed under the safety barriers at the edge of the square of the Casalecchio di Reno motorway station.

For the measurement of debilitating glare, an imaging luminance meter (ILMD) was used which resulted in a percentage threshold value <10% (as per current legislation).

G-Light at nightfall
7. G-Light at dusk in a photo of January 2022

The voice of the road management

Two years ago, Eng. Sabato Fusco, Technical Director of CAV, Concessioni Autostradali Venete, had spent words of praise for this nascent technology: “The luminance tests carried out – underlined Fusco – left us very satisfied, the lumen values ​​correspond to what is required by the Regulations.

From our point of view, a very interesting fact, in perspective, is that this technology allows us to optimally illuminate the carriageway, thus allowing us not to have to resort to poles.

This is ideal near a junction, such as in Spinea, but also on overpasses: in fact, any looming element on the roadway would be avoided. In addition to being very valid from the lighting point of view – the CAV DT explained on the occasion – GuardLED® has excellent dimmability and is easily maneuverable. In addition, its shaft would allow great advantages to those managers who intend to implement their equipment in a Smart Road key without necessarily having to resort to more invasive works on the body of the infrastructure”.

GuardLED® in 2021
8. GuardLED® a year later (2021)

GuardLED®, 2020 edition, could be installed at the same time as a new barrier, but also on existing guard rails, even if in the latter case the certification remained.

“But you can work on it – Fusco said at the time – by studying the projects together and activating forms of coordination with the operators”.

Said, done: in these two years we have worked on it very intensely. A concrete result implemented, again in the Spinea “laboratory”, is precisely G-Light, the high-performance, eco-sustainable and perfectly adaptable solution to any road barrier.

  Per la versione in Italiano: https://www.stradeeautostrade.it/segnaletica-e-sicurezza/levoluzione-dellinnovazione/