UK roads are set to experience significant change, as Highways England looks to innovate in order to improve traffic flow, minimise congestion and improve the way breakdowns are detected.
The government-owned company has released its Innovation Strategy, showcasing all the different efforts it will do in order to pursue these goals.
According to the strategy, new radar technology will be trailed, to improve breakdown detection. The technology will monitor traffic non-stop, notifying control centres within seconds of a stationary vehicle.
On-road vehicles could also receive important information, suggesting lane-switching, or alternative routes, if need be. The technology will be tested on the A2/M2 between London and Kent, using specially adapted vehicles. Autonomous vehicles will start trialling by the end of next year, too.
Signalling on junctions and motorways will also need improving. The company said it is considering adaptive timing, depending on the time of day and usage.
The strategy is also considering adding sensors to monitor the road, providing better information about the conditions of roads, bridges and tunnels.
A new Test and Innovation Centre is being considered, as well as 'expressways' on A-roads to encourage more free-flowing traffic.
“Innovation is absolutely critical to our £15 billion investment plan for roads,” said roads minister Andrew Jones. A more reliable road network is good news for motorists and good news for the economy. Quicker, safer roads will improve access to jobs and opportunities. Placing Britain at the forefront of innovation and research in this area will also create more jobs and investment.”