Thursday, March 19, 2009

For a good green glow...

This very smart UK technology helps to promote and extend the use of green infrastructure! TraxEyes glow in the dark marker studs can ensure a safe route along pathways, cyclepaths, canal towpaths, mooring points and jetties, bridleways, camping and caravan sites and parks in conditions that would otherwise be low or no light – and they do it in an extremely effective, economical and environmentally-friendly way! Its no wonder that Bristol City Council, British Waterways and English Heritage are experimenting with them.

The studs glow because of photoluminescence – they absorb light energy in daylight and then emit light at night. Amazingly they emit good light for twelve hours of darkness after a mere eight minutes of exposure to daylight! One stud costs just £3.89! A box of twenty studs, enough to cover 50 metres of cyclepath, costs just £77.80. If electrical lighting was used for the same distance, the cost of hardware installation alone would be much greater – add in maintenance and energy use and costs exceed the total cost of using TraxEye studs each and every month!

Councils like Bristol spend a significant portion of their budget on electricity for lighting. Bills run to millions! It costs from £36 to £90 a year to run just one street light as opposed to zero running cost of the studs. Bristol City Council has opted to try out the studs in St Werburghs as part of its Cycling City work.

Inside them is a resin disc embedded with light emitting crystals, encased in a clear plastic shell for protection against the elements. A small steel pin penetrates the disc and this is used to anchor the stud. The head of the pin is encased in tough plastic which keeps the stud safe during the straightforward installation and marks its location. Checking for vandalism and the occasional wipe over to remove debris is all the maintenance needed.

The studs are far greener than street lighting or reflectors, including perhaps solar powered ones, in several senses. They are non-toxic, non-radioactive and contain no harmful chemicals. They emit a soft green light not radioactivity!!

Its a major advantage that they consume no electricity during their working life and thus consume no fuel and produce no polluting emissions! They don’t require expensive and polluting batteries either and don’t have to be wired up as they are self-contained. The studs work in total darkness, unlike reflectors, and are longer-life than solar lighting – five years is guaranteed and fourteen years or more of useful life is expected.


  1. Interesting piece Glenn. One sad thing about the prevalence of modern street lighting is that city dwellers have no idea of the glory of the night sky due to the amount of light pollution. Be good to reverse the trend on that one.

  2. The light emitted by these devices is not comparable with street lighting. They will do little more than mark out the line of the path, something that can be achieved with reflective paint reacting to bicycle lights.

    There is a danger that these lights will give cyclists a false sense of security and actually cause collisions. We will see.

  3. There may be an issue with light intensity levels....thing to do is try them out and get the reactions of path users. It will be interesting to see what BCC conclude from their trials.

  4. Martyn WhitelockSaturday, March 21, 2009

    Wow, what a great idea! I can imagine they would also create a very interesting visual amenity if they were installed along the Railway Path. They could also help reduce crime as people might value their environment more. Actually, the fact they don't emit the same amount of light as street lights (and are located on the ground) is surely a benefit for wildlife! Reflective paint is less effective as it gets older and who would want to see the Railway Path covered in road markings?

  5. Update - they're totally useless, exactly as I suggested. See

    Perhaps you'd like to explain you're naive and uncritical endorement of this product without evidence Glenn?

  6. Chris

    To be frank I dont appreciate your unnecessarily vehement tone and ill-considered accusation. My view is based on my personal assessment of the data available and of course may turn out to be right or wrong!! I've posted the comment below on your blog.
    You may, in the end, turn out to be right about this, who knows, but your testing of this product is hardly comprehensive and fully scientific - lets wait until we have some proper data over a period of time shall we? No doubt the individual observations of path users should be an important consideration - but not just one persons opinion, observations, and a few photos (I personnally have doubts about the time you took the photos posted on your blog).

    This technology may turn out to be unsuitable here but I think you are a bit premature and over-strong in your reaction.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.