Highways England has launched a competition to support the development of ‘digital roads’ and improve air quality.
It said that organisations can submit ideas taking in possibilities such as connected vehicles and infrastructure, and ways of providing better and more predictable journey times, to improve safety, public health and support the more efficient use of vehicles.
The organisation has set up two competitions: one for unproven feasibility projects that could be further funded for development; the other for proven projects at development stage. They are expected to begin by September of this year and have to be suitable for a trial on the strategic roads network.
It outlined six themes – design, construction and maintenance; connected and autonomous vehicles; customer mobility; energy and the environment; operations; and air quality – and said examples could include robotic construction methods and roads that repair themselves.
Funding comes from two of Highways England’s designated funds set aside for innovation and air quality projects. Innovate UK will run the competition.
Mike Wilson, Highways England’s executive director for safety, engineering and standards, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs, collaborative partnerships and organisations of any size to help shape the roads of the future.
“We want to explore new and innovative approaches and invest in the best; and we’re keen to engage with a wider network than we have traditionally worked with.”