'Intelligent' diversion routes

Background

Diversion routes provide safe alternative routes for drivers who are diverted from our network. We have around 2700 pre-planned, pre-designated diversion routes for emergency use, covering 98% of our network, which allow drivers to safely navigate around closures on our roads.

The initiative

We’re constantly looking for new ways to improve diversion routes, minimising disruption for both drivers and the communities living and working near our roads. In 2020, we started to look at how we can use advances in technology to create ‘intelligent’ diversion routes.

First, we worked with local experts and highways authorities to choose the most suitable routes for our customers and their vehicles. For example, avoiding congested town centres and low bridges.

Now, we’re trialling how we can use traffic management technologies to help inform drivers in advance of any incidents or road closures, and adjust traffic signal timings along diversion routes to improve traffic flows, working in close collaboration with local highway authorities.

Results

Having ‘intelligent’ diversion routes means we can make sure drivers have the information they need at key decision points along their journey, keeping them in control. We can also minimise disruption for drivers and neighbouring communities along these routes by coordinating traffic signals to keep traffic moving. In addition, technologies along these routes are helping our control centre teams respond to incidents faster.

‘Intelligent’ diversion routes are currently operational in the South East and have recently expanded to the Yorkshire North East. We’re now looking to roll these out nationally, realising benefits across the country.

'Intelligent diversion routes
"The new system allows us [Hertfordshire County Council] to speed up our response to unplanned road closures, which reduces disruption and helps to keep traffic moving."
Councillor Phil Bibby, Cabinet Member for Highways and Environment, Hertfordshire County Council