Plans for an effective and reliable road network in the decades ahead

Excerpt from Transport Minister Andrew Jones' speech at Highways UK 2016.

OS MasterMap

I am pleased today to see that Ordnance Survey will be launching the OS MasterMap Highways Network.

This is a new road network dataset that brings together the best available information on our roads to create a single authoritative view of the network.

The Department for Transport (DfT) invested £3 million in the project and I am really pleased that the dataset will be the most comprehensive digital record of the road network to date.

It has a wide range of applications and benefits.

By creating one authoritative source, all of government, including local government, will have a definitive point of reference for all current and future policies, reducing the burden of data exchange and maintenance of multiple sources. Other benefits include:

  • improved journey planning
  • greater transparency
  • enabling emerging technologies
  • a common base for road statistics

Like the OS MasterMap, Big Data and the ‘Internet of Things’ are making our infrastructure smarter, allowing us to assess the condition and manage highways and other critical infrastructure more intelligently and efficiently – reducing costs and disruption to the public, and improving resilience.

I know there are a number of companies already using video and other camera technology to help authorities understand more about the assets they are responsible for.

This will help better decision making.

Improve efficiency and leading to more planned and cost effective ‎works to be undertaken as part of good asset management.

Vehicle technologies are already changing the way we drive, and eventually are set to change the very nature of our relationship with the car.

These technologies, as well as new advanced materials, energy technologies and nanotechnology, herald rapid and dramatic changes for our highways.

There are enormous benefits on offer here, both for individual users, and for our economy and society.

You – the supply chain, technology companies and the people that manage and operate our networks – are a vital part of nurturing highways innovation.

By working collaboratively to develop and apply new ideas, technologies and ways of working that can deliver better outcomes for lower cost.

We need everybody to embrace this way forward.

It is about having an open-minded approach.

One where both standards and procurement approaches do not stifle new ideas – but are flexible and intelligent enough to encourage and incentivise innovation, whilst not compromising safety, and where successes can be promulgated.

As government, we are here to enable this to happen.

Innovation and technology are a crucial part of delivering our ambition to revolutionise our roads and create a modern road network that supports a modern Britain.

And we are taking an ambitious approach.

Our world-class innovation infrastructure and ambitious funding programmes are putting Britain at the forefront of innovation in road transport, and making Britain the best place in the world to do transport digitally.

We are establishing Britain as a global leader in the development and introduction of new vehicle technologies.

Investing over £100 million in research and demonstration projects for connected and automated vehicles.

And over £900 million to position the UK at the global forefront of the development, manufacture and use of ultra-low emission vehicles.

The first Road investment strategy is incentivising highways innovation through strong efficiency targets, and providing Highways England with £150 million of funding for innovation.

Through Innovate UK, we have established the network of Catapult Centres to identify innovations and help bring them to market quickly.

We are funding major Smart City demonstrators across the country, and have backed the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction to promote smart infrastructure technologies across sectors.