New digital service “to minimise disruptive roadworks”

Drivers will soon be able to plan their journeys better to avoid roadworks, thanks to an innovative new digital system funded by the government.

ITS (UK) member the Department for Transport is investing up to £10 million in Street Manager, a digital planning service due to launch next year, to replace a costly and ineffective system that will make more consistent, accurate data on street works available to motorists.

Unlike current data on roadworks which is often out of date and incomplete, Street Manager will generate real time data and will be free for technology companies and app developers to use. This will allow existing apps and providers, such as Waze and Google maps, to enhance their services making them even more accurate and allow other firms to create new products to help drivers avoid jams. It could see 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.”

Street Manager will replace an out-of-date and ineffective system currently in use by local authorities and utility companies, allowing them to accurately record and share data better on the 2.5 million roadworks that take place in England each year. It will support them to collaborate on joint works and better coordinate timings so that drivers don’t get caught up in multiple works.

It will also support local businesses across the country by helping stop delivery vehicles from getting stuck in traffic jams caused by roadworks.

Alongside this, the government is today (Sunday 2 September 2018) publishing new bidding guidance on lane rental schemes, which enable councils across England to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for carrying out roadworks on the busiest roads at peak times.

The guidance informs local authorities as to how they can develop a lane rental scheme, and includes a new calculator for assessing the costs and benefits of schemes.

It will also help utility companies to work with local authorities to avoid charges by co-ordinating works, or working at quieter times – benefitting all road users, especially those travelling at peak times. Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent saw congestion on the busiest roads drop by half, saving drivers time and boosting the economy.

It also comes after Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, called on companies to carry out works on pavements, where possible, instead of under roads to avoid disruption to motorists.

Street Manager is just one example of how technology is transforming transport. With the development of self-driving vehicles and other technological travel solutions, the government has published a ‘Future of mobility call for evidence’.

This kicked off the ‘Future of mobility grand challenge’, which aims to make the UK A world leader in the movement of goods, services and people. This work is part of the future of mobility in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, which is building a Britain fit for the future.

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