Balfour, Kier and Costain to trial AI tech to improve roadworks

Roadworks image for story about roadworks innovation
Three technologies will be trialled to help ease the pain of roadworks (Image: National Highways)

Balfour Beatty, Kier and Costain will be working with National Highways to trial new AI-powered technologies to improve roadworks projects.

National Highways chose the three solutions through an innovation competition launched earlier in the year.

Ten finalists received up to £15,000 each to investigate the feasibility of their projects. The three winners will each receive up to £60,000 to trial the technologies in real-life situations on England’s motorways and A-roads network.

The winning solutions are:

  • An AI tool developed by Cambridge-based Alchera Technologies to improve roadwork planning by better understanding the impacts of different roadworks and road closures on road users. It will be working with Costain. BIMplus has previously reported on Alchera’s work with Oxfordshire County Council and Mott MacDonald.
  • An AI-powered computer vision technology that analyses CCTV footage to understand road user and road worker behaviour and help to improve people’s experiences of roadworks. It has been developed by Cambridge-based company Robok and the trial will be supported by Balfour Beatty.
  • A text-analytics tool developed by WordNerds, of Gateshead, that uses AI to provide insights into people’s perception of roadworks. National Highways will use this technology with Kier and Costain to make evidence-based improvements on planned works.

The three trials will start in January. As well as the funding to develop their projects, the winning ideas also get technical and commercial support from experts at Connected Places Catapult and National Highways to develop and scale up their technologies.

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