DfT to revolutionise data on traffic works to improve road journeys
The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on changing the law so that councils and utility companies have to share roadworks data on a new website – meaning work is co-ordinated and drivers know where to look.
The consultation will seek views on making it the law from next April (2020) for local authorities and utility companies to have to use a new digital platform, named Street Manager, to plan and manage roadworks. This will mean up to date information on live and planned works across England will be available under one source, making it easier than ever before for tech companies to map where and when road work are happening.
On top of this, the service – which the department will invest £10 million in – will require those feeding in information to provide updates within 2 hours of road works beginning and ending. This will help third parties like Waze to use data to provide real time journey updates for road users through travel apps, significantly improving travel times for people across the country.
It will also mean drivers can find out which areas to avoid due to roadworks before they leave home. It is hoped the new system will be used in this way to reduce congestion as a result of roadworks.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said, “Everyone has experienced the annoyance of travel that is disrupted by roadworks, but the systems we currently use to help companies communicate this aren’t fit for purpose, and need changing.
“Street Manager will do just that, making it easier for companies to use data on roadworks to inform people of where to avoid when travelling, helping to boost the experiences for people travelling up and down the country.”
The consultation will also look at removing temporary traffic lights as soon as possible after the completion of works, and a new national condition requiring companies to place roadworks underneath pavements to reduce the impact on traffic. Pilots have already been running with a small group of utility companies and councils since May (2019), with the full roll out of the new data source set for next April (2020).