Cars of the future could be programmed to spot potholes on motorways and automatically transmit the information to Highways England to schedule repairs.
In a vision of the future outlined today the government company said an intelligent network coupled with connected vehicles would improve the efficiency of road maintenance and at the same time improve safety.
In another development drones could also be used to report on incidents, improving response times.
In its Strategic Road Network Initial Report, published yesterday (13 December 2017), the company says technology will play an increasingly important role in keeping people moving, and the country connected.
It also stresses the importance of keeping existing roads properly maintained, and in a way that minimises disruption to road users and local communities. The report will be used to inform the government’s next road investment strategy which begins in 2020.
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.
“We encourage people to read our report and give feedback through the Department for Transport’s consultation, which is also launched today.”
Since it was created in 2015, Highways England has completed 18 major road improvements and has a further 15 under construction.
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.”
The Initial Report outlines eight aspirations 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;
- prepare for the future.
The Department for Transport has also launched its consultation into Highways England’s Initial Report. The consultation will run until Wednesday, 7 February 2018.
The results will be used by the department to help develop the next Road Investment Strategy, which the government is expected to publish in 2019, when details of specific road projects will be outlined.
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.– Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive, Highways England