We're investing £27.4 billion in the strategic road network (SRN) between 2020 and 2025 - an unprecedented scale of ambition. Our Strategic Business Plan (SBP) sets out what we'll deliver over this period, and the Digital, Data and Technology Strategy is designed to support it.
Digital, data and technology will be a key element of the SBP, and will be critical in ensuring we achieve our main objective: providing safer, smoother and more reliable journeys for our customers.
We'll transform services across asset management, customer-focused and corporate functions.
Enabling our people
We'll provide the data and technology they need to make better decisions to do their jobs safely and securely.
We'll adopt more efficient, flexible and streamlined approaches using cutting edge techniques.
"We'll strive to become thought leaders in the digital, data and technology services we provide. We can only transform, enable and improve through a relentless focus on growing in-house digital, data and technology capabilities. We'll need expertise and knowledge in critical technical areas, as well as building strong and mutually beneficial partnerships with an expert supply chain. This plan builds on a strong foundation - some of this work has already started, and armed with this strategy, we're clear about what needs to happen next."Victoria Higgin, Chief information officer and executive director of information and technology
We'll continue to transform the services we provide across the company, using digital, data and technology to deliver frictionless services for our colleagues and customers. We've introduced a business partnering approach across the organisation to ensure our services deliver the desired outcomes, and help drive continuous improvement.
We'll implement new ways of working and unlock efficiencies through digital transformation. It will be based on an end-to-end view that considers the interaction between technology, process and people.
Data provides opportunities to facilitate digital transformation. As highlighted in our Information Vision and Strategy, published in March 2019, we'll seek to realise value from information, treat information as an asset, securely share trusted information, and use information to help shape our future. We've already invested in a data-as-a-service platform to accelerate adoption of new services based on data science.
Technology plays a critical role, both today and in the future, to help support our strategic objectives:
- Measuring progress against performance measures set out in the SBP
- Building open, trusted relationships with colleagues so there is a constant feedback flow
- Measuring the benefits captured within business cases, and continually improving delivery
- Working with customer-facing colleagues to obtain real customer feedback
Building, improving and maintaining assets
We'll increasingly use digital design and construction to:
- improve safety
- reduce network disruption
- increase productivity
- ensure smoother journeys for customers
“As a plant operative, digital rehearsals and automated assembly of our modular components will increase my safety. Through digital design, we'll be able to better plan scenarios and ensure the highest safety standards.”
Operating the network
We'll continue to develop operational technology which will enable us to monitor and manage traffic from our control rooms.
The new technology must be flexible enough to meet new challenges such as the detection of stopped vehicles and next-generation road signage.
We're always looking for ways to improve the safety of our those working at the roadside – SAFETYcam is an innovative camera system that captures dangerous driving behaviour and provides a visual deterrent.
Delivering services to customers
Our customers will be better informed and have trust in the journey information they access from us.
More vehicles are using connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology, so we also need to look at ways of providing data to self-driving systems.
We're developing a new Dartford Crossing charge system. Traffic camera technology will automatically identify the category of vehicle, assigns the relevant charge, and gives users until midnight to pay.
To enable our people to embrace change and adopt digital ways of working, we need to equip them with the correct information and tools to do their jobs.
We also need to support everyone in the company to train and develop skills to take advantage of digital ways of working, create value from data, and understand new technology. This will help us to achieve our outcomes quicker, stimulate new ways of thinking, deliver complex technology services, and ensure everyone helps keep the organisation and our assets safe.
We'll also need to build deeper digital, data and technology expertise in areas critical to the delivery of our SBP outcomes.
Here are some of the key points of our strategy relating to enabling our people:
- Collecting feedback through our annual colleague surveys and service satisfaction scores
- Giving colleagues a range of options to provide feedback
- Monitoring user issues captured by the service desk
- Measuring the usefulness of our key data sets
Technology to do the job
Our colleagues need the right technology where they work: at the roadside, on the move, in the office or at home.
Devices should work as expected and allow our colleagues to do their job effectively. The technology should be robust, fast, secure and as intuitive as that which people use at home.
We'll use technology to enable our colleagues and suppliers to collaborate on major road schemes, such as the A303 Stonehenge and Lower Thames Crossing.
Digital, data and technology skills across the company
Building digital, data and technology skills across the organisation is critical to achieving our SBP outcomes.
This will help us to deliver better services for customers, develop more innovative solutions, and keep the organisation secure.
We're developing an early careers strategy covering apprentices and graduates, and creating partnerships with leading universities and further education organisations.
Growing our culture of cyber security and data protection
As we introduce more technology at the roadside and digital collaboration with our supply chain, our systems can become more vulnerable to cyber threats.
We'll embed security and privacy by design as a default within the organisation.
We'll develop and own Highways England’s cyber security and information rights standards, policies and frameworks, and actively manage compliance and risk.
The effective provision of digital, data and technology services will enable our colleagues to deliver efficiently and contribute to our strategic outcomes. We'll focus on delivering at the right pace, to the expected quality and to facilitate innovation.
We'll also align our delivery in value streams, by creating service-focused, cross-functional teams and decreasing time to value with modern architecture, design and delivery methodologies.
Here are some of the key points of our strategy relating to improving delivery:
- Reviewing progress against specific roadmaps for the key projects being delivered
- Tracking trends on return on investment
- Tracking the efficiencies delivered through procurement, including environmental outcomes
Improving outcomes from projects and programmes
We'll invest in building delivery capability and processes that can realise project benefits at the cost, speed and specification required.
The world is changing at pace. To keep on top of that change, we'll invest in a digital lab that focuses on working with the brightest minds to create fast paced innovative solutions using innovative tools and techniques.
The proposed Lower Thames Crossing is an essential component in the UK’s future transport infrastructure. We will use improved technology, data and information to aid construction and road users, and enhance operations on this critical part of the road network.
Increasing flexibility with architecture
Our target technology architecture will be modern and flexible to allow us to quickly create new services or improve existing ones.
We'll also focus on reducing complexity and increasing standardisation across our infrastructure and platforms to enable greater automation, orchestration and flexibility across our technology stacks.
We are deploying the use of radar-based stopped vehicle detection on our network, making use of new technology architecture and allowing the adoption of new and innovative technology using industry standard interfaces.
The Designated Funds Plan 2020-2025 sets out the need to innovate, modernise and realise the benefits of emerging technologies, which have the potential to revolutionise travel on our roads.
In order to achieve this, we'll need to coordinate the research and provide guidance for proven concepts to enable widespread adoption.
"As traffic officers we always need the latest information to make the right decisions to keep traffic flowing and intervene safely. The increased up-time of roadside technology means we can base such decisions on accurate, near real-time data."