Highways England sets eyes on intelligent network

Oxfordshire achieves 95% target of making superfast broadband available

Technology is expected to play a major role in keeping people moving and the country connected, Highways England has said. 

Outlining its vision of the future in its Strategic Road Network Initial Report, the firm said cars of the future could be programmed to spot potholes on roads and transmit the information to Highways England so that repairs could be taken up.

It said an intelligent network coupled with connected vehicles would not only improve maintenance of roads but improve safety as well, and drones could be used to report back on incidents for quicker response.

The report also underscores the need for proper maintenance of existing roads in a way which minimises disruption to road users. Additionally, it will be used to inform the next road investment strategy, which will begin in 2020.

In the Initial Report it outlines eight objectives for the next road period: focus on operations, maintenance and renewals; build the smart motorway spine of the network; roll out expressways; undertake transformational investments; deliver a balanced programme; renew focus on small schemes; deliver through refined designated funds; and prepare for the future.

Highways England, which was created in 2015, has completed 18 major road improvements and 15 are under construction.

The Department of Transport has also launched its consultation into Highways England’s Initial Report. The consultation will run until 7 February 2018 and will use the results of the consultation to help develop the next Road Investment Strategy, which is expected to be published in 2019.

Trials for Smart Motorways extended

Highways England Chief Executive Jim O’Sullivan said: “We are delivering a record £15bn of government investment to give people safe, efficient and reliable journeys, and provide businesses with the links they need to prosper and grow.

“Because people’s journeys are important to us, we are setting out our high-level aspirations, which will help ensure the network continues to drive economic growth, jobs and prosperity and keeps traffic moving today, and into the future.”

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “This government is making people’s journeys better, faster and safer to give people better access to jobs, schools and their community.

“We are planning to spend more than ever before to upgrade England’s motorways and major A roads from 2020 through to 2025.”