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DfT plans new data service for street works

03/09/18

UKA Correspondent

The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced plans to launch a digital service to help drivers avoid roadworks.

Street works guide on tablet computer

It is investing up to £10 million in Street Manager, due to launch next year, to make more consistent and accurate data on street works available to motorists.

It will generate real time data and will be free for technology companies and app developers to use in developing their own services.

The DfT said this could lead to the latest data being shared via satnavs and app ‘push’ notifications to help motorists choose a new route.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “Roadworks can often be frustrating for motorists, especially when they cause hold-ups at busy times and delay journeys.

“We want to reduce this disruption and delay, and Street Manager is just one of a number of actions we are taking so that local authorities and utility companies can better plan and manage their roadworks.

“The data opened up by this new digital service should enable motorists to plan their journeys better, so they can avoid works and get to their destinations more easily.”

The DfT said existing systems use data that is often out-of-date and incomplete, and that Street Manager should support local authorities and utility companies in collaborating on joint works and to better coordinate timings so that drivers do not get caught up in multiple works.

Consultation and challenge

The department also highlighted its recent call for evidence for a consultation on the future of mobility, looking into the potential for self-driving vehicles and other new technologies to support travel, and a grand challenge on the issue as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy.

The Local Government Association welcomed the moves. Its transport spokesperson, Councillor Martin Tett, said: "Roadworks, whilst necessary, cause congestion and disruption to road users and businesses, with UK drivers wasting an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic last year.

“Councils are on the side of frustrated motorists who find themselves spending wasted hours held up in tailbacks and already do what they can to minimise costs to road users. These initiatives will give road users more accurate information to plan their journeys and avoid delays where possible, and the extension of lane rental powers, long called for by councils, will give incentives to utilities to minimise disruption on the busiest roads throughout the country.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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