Using digital innovation to create a road system for the future - new research collaboration with ADEPT, EY, Ringway and O2

29th March, 2017

How do we future-proof our road networks? This is the question a new research project aims to find out.


Led by the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport, (ADEPT) in collaboration with EY, Ringway and O2, the new project gets into gear this month.


“Paving the way to future-proof road networks” will examine how the adoption of new technologies, such as smart sensors that could monitor traffic flow, structural changes, air pollution and temperature monitoring can be sped up in a climate of increasing demand and ever greater financial pressures on Local Authorities.


Local Authorities and their partners are facing a difficult combination of challenges in maintaining and improving road networks and highways infrastructure. There are more road users than ever before and less funding with which to maintain local and major road systems.


The research project will look at how new and innovative technologies can be used in the construction, maintenance and operation of highways and highways systems. It will explore how existing and emerging technologies can assist and what are the challenges and barriers to take up that will impact on their adoption.


The project will run from March to July 2017 with a final report published in the summer.


Neil Gibson 2nd Vice President of ADEPT and Project Lead for the Association said: “This is an important new project for ADEPT and we are excited to be working with our corporate supporters in this important piece of work.


“The impact of new digital technologies on our road systems over the coming decade cannot be underestimated and Local Authorities need to be at the forefront of implementing innovation.”


Yogesh Patel, Ringway Process and Improvement Director said: “We are delighted to be supporting this project.  Digital innovations presents many opportunities for our industry to not only deliver a more connected service to our customers and clients, but could also enable a transformational change in the efficiency of highway infrastructure construction, management, maintenance and operations.  Ringway want to be at the heart of this as a key service provider”.   


Neil Sartorio, Head of Local Public Services at EY, comments: “With the rapid pace of technological change all around us, there is a great opportunity to take our highways into the 21st century.


“Highways and their accompanying infrastructure not only need to be ready for the driverless car revolution, but we also need them to be resilient enough to support increased demand into the future.


“We are already seeing the benefits of new technologies across the UK rail network with savings in maintenance costs and we hope we can share our knowledge and experience to help make ‘Tarmac-tech’ a reality.”


Alastair McMahon, Analytics Director for the O2 Data Unit said: “As part of this research, O2 is investigating how IoT technologies can generate data to provide actionable insights that lead to improvements in the planning, construction and operation of highway networks. We're pleased to participate in this research project because we recognise that a better highway infrastructure network is an essential component of the digital economy."


ADEPT is the voice of Local Authority county, unitary and metropolitan Strategic Place Directors across England with responsibility for the key place based services, including transport, environment, planning, economic development, housing and waste.