30 June 2022 | Net Zero | BY: SRL Traffic Systems Ltd

Giving the Green Light to Sustainability

Adrian Murphy, CEO of SRL, discusses the sector’s journey to net zero and looks at what sustainability really means.


Sustainability is an oft-heard catchword; bandied about as just another piece of nebulous corporate jargon. So, it’s worth taking the time to consider what sustainability really means.

Of increasing importance to organisations across the board as well as the wider public, improving the way in which we as companies operate in relation to the resources we use has never been higher up the priority list.

Whilst some companies are happy to talk the talk with minor gestures towards sustainable practices, for others, sustainability genuinely is fundamental to what they do.

For such companies, their approach follows the model of a circular economy, a positive cycle which involves leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing products for as long as possible.

The circular economy is an evolution of the traditional, wasteful system of ‘take, make, throw away’, in which resources are extracted, turned into products, used, then discarded. The idea being that, where possible, we avoid waste in the way we produce and consume goods and services. That’s where the hiring out of products fits in.

To put it simply: RENTAL IS RECYCLING

Not only is this way of thinking and working beneficial for the environment, it also promises to deliver substantial economic benefits. Indeed, according to professional services firm Accenture, scaling up reuse, repair, remanufacturing, and recycling across the board will create millions of jobs and stimulate innovation.

Being respectful of the resources required to make products also inspires truly sustainable companies to be innovative and forward-thinking, reducing the waste and environmental impact of their operations and designing solutions that meet customers’ needs for safety and productivity.

Here are some key ways in which ITS suppliers can fulfil the circular economy philosophy:

Shared usage
Traffic management companies and other rental customers can access hire equipment when they need it, and thanks to rental asset management, there is a more frequent, hence more efficient, use of the products.

Design and build products with maintenance and repair in mind, creating equipment designed not only to last but also to be reparable and upgradeable as innovation and technology progress.

Take care of equipment through planned maintenance and repairs whenever possible and through recycling at the end of products’ life cycles.
And from addressing the whole fleet at the macro level, we can zoom into the specifics by examining how individual products can help drive sustainability goals.

Reducing congestion
As well as causing chaos for road users, congestion pollutes the air with a concentration of emissions. Adaptive detection traffic light systems that can manage daily traffic flows by making automatic adjustments of green times – using deep learning algorithms to interpret the data received from high accuracy radar detectors – can help to preclude not only congestion but also the associated air pollution. In 2021, we launched our Multiphase ADS, which was independently proven to reduce average queue lengths by 50%.

Reducing energy consumption
Solar-powered traffic signals and VMS negate the need for energy-guzzling diesel generators, while VMS LEDs with a competitive mean time before failure (MTBF) reduce hassle for the customer and help keep call-outs (and their impact on the environment) to a minimum. Our LEDs offer an industry-leading 400,000 hour MTBF.

Reducing waste with backwards compatible products
Backward compatible products are those where, in the event of a fault, there is no need to replace entire units. Instead, where possible, suppliers replace individual components, ensuring the maximum useable life for that product and minimum disruption to operations. SRL’s traffic signals are the only backwards compatible ones in the UK and RoI.

Sustainable delivery
Not only do wide distribution networks enable suppliers to provide a highly responsive service, they also ensure swift and environmentally sustainable delivery. With more than 30 depots, SRL has the market’s largest distribution network.

In summary, the more we as ITS suppliers can do to work within the principles of the circular economy, the better able we’ll be to genuinely claim sustainable credentials and the more we’ll do for the environment.

SRL is the UK and RoI’s largest manufacturer and supplier of portable and temporary ITS equipment and integrated systems to the traffic management, construction, events and utilities sectors. Its range of industry certifications and accreditations includes ISO 14001 which evidences commitment to actively managing environmental responsibilities and performance. Its business model is designed around the safe, long-term use of products.