Between April 2020 and March 2025, the UK government will spend £24bn to improve and modernise our Strategic Road Network (second Road Investment Strategy – RIS2)1. Part of this is a strong commitment to reduce carbon emissions and support the government’s ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The roadworks associated with this ambitious programme will require effective temporary traffic management (TTM) to keep traffic flowing smoothly and safely, and deliver a positive road user experience during the works. In research carried out by Transport Focus2 in August 2021, road users ranked better management of roadworks as a top three priority.
The UK prides itself as a world leader in the field of TTM and has consistently improved working methods to reduce risk to both road workers and road users. As an example, the elimination of live carriageway crossings for workers to deploy temporary signs has saved 3.7 million crossings per year, preventing potential harm to road workers and road users.
Despite these advances in working methods, the actual equipment used to create temporary working environments (namely cones, barriers and fixed plate signage) is nearly identical to that used over 20 years ago. This is in stark contrast to the Strategic Road Network (SRN) which has become progressively smart with the addition of sensors and overhead gantry mounted variable message signs (VMS). This progress is helping to create the infrastructure of the future which can respond to changes in conditions and optimise journeys as well as accommodate more advanced forms of transport such as connected and autonomous vehicles.
In its current form, TTM significantly downgrades road user experience and the ability for connected and autonomous vehicles to operate in this environment.
This is due to the following:
The technology is available to transform the industry and bring temporary traffic management into the 21st century. Companies like UK-based HRS are bringing this to life with a range of digitally-enabled products and services.
It has developed the technology to provide real-time information on roadworks deployments which can be linked to network occupancy systems and directly to third party mapping/mobility solutions systems provided by companies such as Google, TomTom and HERE.
This technology creates a digital twin for each work zone to deliver targeted safety alerts, automated remote monitoring of safety critical assets, real-time information of works deployments and dynamic speed management. The digital twin is produced by creating a geozone that corresponds with the works area.
This provides several significant opportunities:
This provides the following major benefits:
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