Highways England has announced that it will be investing a sizeable fund of £150m into the trialling and testing and using new technology for the benefit of our roads. The fund will be used on technologies such as driverless car trials on the motorways.
The capital has been taken from Highway England’s innovation strategy pot which has set out a plan which ensures that the agency is keeping pace with advances in technology in vehicle and road safety and development. Highways England assert that their strategy will both benefit road users around England and deliver economic benefits too. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also stated in this latest Budget that driverless cars will be tested on motorways by the end of 2017 and this announcement of funding supports his statement.
The strategy includes a range of different areas to focus on when it comes to new technology and incorporates Wi-Fi roads which would see cars and the infrastructure they’re running on wirelessly connected with drivers being provided with valuable information like notifications about advanced road closures or signs of congestion.
There is also hope that the use of radar technology in tunnels and on motorways will be able to improve the way breakdowns are detected and this technology will be trialled too.
The strategy also includes research and development in areas including improving the signalling of junctions on motorways to improve traffic flow, the use of sensors to provide more in depth and comprehensive information about the condition of the road infrastructure, the use of ‘expressways’ on A-roads to improve free flow of traffic and finally the creation of a ‘Test and Innovation Centre’ as a base for pioneering the new research and technology being developed.
The Roads Minister Andrew Jones commented on the announcement that: Innovation is absolutely critical to our £15bn investment plan for roads. 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.”
Technology is one of those things which can be used for the good and for the bad of the roads and from the perspective of those in charge of the infrastructure and safety of the roads they can ensure that only the best technologies are utilised for the improvement of every user’s experience. In-car technology is a little different and is something to take up with the manufacturers of vehicles.
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