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Member of the Month: Highways England April 04, 2019

Since joining the Digital Leadership Forum in summer 2017, Highways England have been regular attendees as our member sessions and have contributed their experience and insights by leading round table discussions and always being vocal in the Q&A sessions. To learn a bit more about Highways England, here are three of the innovative projects they are currently working on:

The National Innovation Competition

Highways England has recently launched a nationwide innovation competition to help pave the way for the second round of the government’s 15 billion road investment programme. Entrepreneurs and organisations are encouraged to enter the £20 million competition with their detailed, innovative ideas and plans around improving the nations highway system in the digital age. The competition is being used to support a ten-year plan that aims to revolutionise transport in the country by improving factors such as safety, air pollution, digital roads and the use of automation. An online innovation hub was also launched last year to support the competition.

The Move Toward Smarter Highways

Ventures such as the Innovation Competition are one facet of a greater drive to smarten up Britain’s highway system over the coming years. Highways England has already deployed several smart highways across the country which collect and process data in real time, providing motorists with on the go updates around traffic, obstructions and conditions. Their research has found, for instance, that journey reliability on a smart highway improved by 22%, and that personal injury accidents halved (with zero fatalities!). As technology such as autonomous vehicles and advanced analytics continues to improve at a rapid rate- even more innovative ideas are being explored, such as roads that are self-healing (a mixture of automation and AI technology), and able to communicate with one another (by collecting, processing and transferring vast real time data into the highway network at an extraordinarily efficiency and accurate rate)  to improve traffic, road safety and the flow of information to drivers.

Heritage and Environmental Work Along the A30

Highways England is also investing 27 million into the Cornwall area in order to encourage more cycling and walking by creating routes between towns, cities and points of interest. The new routes will span over thirty kilometres and is also predicted to reach completion by 2021. This investment into sustainable innovation is also being used to restore rare heath land habitat, reduce water flooding/quality issues and the restoration of national parks- including historical sites. Both schemes under the venture are predicted to not only have a positive environmental impact in the area, but to also act as a boost to tourism and leisure spending across the region as global ecotourism trends continue to move upward.


We are always glad to have Highways England involved with the forum and look forward to the continued enthusiasm and expertise they will bring to our sessions in 2019


Written by Ajay Gnanam, Events & Customer Success Executive, Digital Leadership Forum

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