OS co-launches research alliance to shape the development of highways

3 minute read
Ordnance Survey (OS), Great Britain’s national mapping service, has co-launched a research alliance with 21 other organisations including National Highways, Costain and the University of Cambridge to help shape the development of innovation in the highways industry.

Over the next five years the £14.5 million programme, called the Roads Research Alliance, will define and develop a portfolio of innovative projects for the roads sector, including infrastructure and transport sectors.

The Roads Research Alliance was formally launched at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge, on Tuesday 27 September, when the 22 members signed a charter setting out the commitments and expectations which will enable effective co-operation and support. This collective approach will define the research required and provide real-world insight from within the industry. The partners will share their experience and knowledge as well as identifying the areas where innovation is needed and drive research in that direction.

Dr Stefano Cavazzi, OS Principal Innovation and Research Scientist, said: “At OS we preside over the largest and most authoritative geospatial database in the world. Since 1791 we have captured and maintained this database which now contains over half a billion geographic features and is updated over 20,000 times a day. We are the only organisation that can provide an authoritative picture of our highways and roads.

“Taking part in the Road Research Alliance allows OS to collaborate and partner with key industry players to better understand the role of geospatial data in the development of a connected physical and digital road infrastructure system.


“The transport sector in general, and in particular roads, are required to reduce carbon emissions while supporting autonomous driving and embracing the benefits offered by innovation in smart materials and digital technologies. This provides opportunities for OS’s trusted location data to unlock many of these technological breakthroughs.”

National Highways Chief Executive, Nick Harris, said: “We were already committed to delivering the research project and had secured funding but rather than go forward alone, we wanted to work collaboratively with our supply chain and deliver a more joined-up approach to better address the challenges our sector faces.

“Together we can develop ideas that will increase safety on our network as well as improving how we design, maintain, operate and build roads. This is the first time National Highways has formed an alliance like this to deliver research and we are looking forward to seeing the exciting results.”

To find out more you can view the full Charter agreement. Alternatively, you can see a 1-page summary of the Charter.

The 22 RRA members are: National Highways, OS, Costain, University of Cambridge, Balfour Beatty, Atkins, Amey, Ringway, Telent, GallifordTry, Bam Nuttal, Kier, Aecom, Jacobs, TRL, Keltbray, Lynch, Trimble, Ramboll, Sap, Bentley and Versarien.

Ordnance Survey
By Ordnance Survey

Our highly accurate geospatial data and printed maps help individuals, governments and companies to understand the world, both in Britain and overseas.