National Highways introduces Digital Roads plan

National Highways – previously Highways England – has released details of its new Digital Roads plan, which it says is a revolution in the way the strategic road network will be planned. Its desired outcome is to enable safer journeys, faster delivery of road projects and better value for taxpayers.

The plan – which you can see in full here – is split into three core areas:

  • Design and construction
  • Digital operations
  • Digital for customers

These areas will help the government to meet its targets for 2025, which include:

  • Enabling design by using digital tools. This will apply to road scheme designs and long-term planning.
  • Better practical design approaches – using modular construction and modern fabrication methods will help to standardise road design and improve safety.
  • More efficient construction practices, including using automated systems where relevant and safe.
  • Using data to manage the network more effectively, including planning roadworks and closures, and managing traffic safely.
  • Network flexibility will be improved by having better real-time information available.
  • Better information for staff – National Highways teams will have access to the latest information, informing better decision making and planning.
  • More accurate and consistent information for road users.
  • Improved customer information and better customer service.
  • More informed and engaged partnerships with the agencies and companies that work alongside National Highways, to ensure that new and upgrade schemes run smoothly and to schedule.

“We are at the beginning of a digital revolution in roads infrastructure and expect to see more change in the next decade than we have in the last century,” said Nick Harris, Chief Executive of National Highways. “This provides an opportunity to make our roads safer, improve customer experience for all, and support our plans for net zero.”

What does this mean for road users?

We are used to major road schemes – repairs, updates and new roads – disrupting our journeys; particularly on motorways and A roads. These schemes can take many months to complete, and if they fall behind, can cause increasing economic problems for companies relying on road freight.

A good outcome for the Digital Roads plan would be for road users to see well-planned and communicated infrastructure schemes that are managed so that traffic flow continues, stick to scheduled timescales and noticeably improve the network once they are complete. In general, if the Digital Roads plan can also deliver enhanced safety across the road system, drivers will feel more confident behind the wheel.

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At Road Data Services, we assist road network planning by delivering highly accurate data on traffic congestion, journey times, parking issues and more. Our work is used by planners and developers around the UK to help them make informed decisions about the projects they are working on.

To find out more, contact us today.

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