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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

New report sets out the digital step change coming to local roads

A group of leading transport technology experts from across the private and public sector is calling for wider recognition of the need for Digital Roads to become “business as usual” for local authority road networks, so that local authorities can benefit from the opportunities that Digital Roads will bring.

Digital Roads is a broad concept encompassing increased use of information technology, data and connectivity to allow a step-change in the way roads are designed, built, managed and used, enabling future safer forms of mobility.

The Digital Local Roads report is authored by TRL, with specialist contributions from Ringway and Vinci Highways as local and strategic highways providers, while professional services organisation Jacobs provides the digital transportation solutions, and Ordnance Survey is mapping and data provider. This team has worked with Government, specifically the Department for Transport through the Transport Technology Forum, along with the Local Government Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), and Innovate UK. They are publishing the report setting out a vision, both nationally and locally, for Digital Local Roads.

The report suggests that an opportunity exists to meet coming challenges by harnessing the growth in connected digital technologies, for which they have adopted the term “Digital Local Roads”.

It goes on to say the that the case for Digital Local Roads is growing because of “unprecedented challenges” in the transport industry caused by climate change, budgetary pressures, and the exponential pace of technological development.

The report calls on the Government to deliver a vision, strategy and roadmap for Digital Local Roads, along with a holistic definition of the transport network, funding, standards and training to accelerate progress. Local Authorities are encouraged to develop Digital Local Roads strategies and action plans that will support their local goals, and to encourage innovation, share expertise and collaborate in regional development programmes. Industry is urged to be proactive in bringing Digital Local Road solutions to authorities, sharing the benefits and lessons learned across contracts.

“Embracing the opportunities that digital technology offer is a significant element of the jigsaw puzzle that is future transport,” explained ADEPT President Mark Kemp. This is an important piece of work and I am grateful to those who contributed to its development. We must all take on the challenges presented by this work in order to support the development of the highways and transport industry over the next ten years.”

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