How it works

For Highways England, innovation is the application of a new process or product that benefits our customers and stakeholders. To maximise those benefits we will work to ensure we have the right processes and culture to support innovation.


The diagram represents the journey you’ll follow if you work with us, from getting in touch with an idea, or entering a competition focussed around our challenges, imperatives and long term drivers, through consideration, selection and funding, to embedding successful innovations into our business as usual work and the wider sector. This may involve further trials, the creation or update of standards or wider dissemination and promotion into industry.

We have produced a new Pilots and Trials Guidance document for Project Managers for the design, management and delivery of pilots and trials on the Highways England network when an innovation, whether a service, system or item/product, is proposed for consideration.

Innovation funding

Innovation and modernisation designated funds

As part of our second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), to allow for actions beyond business as usual, from 2020 to 2025, our Designated Funds are allocated to four funding streams focused on making improvements that will make the biggest difference and deliver lasting benefits. This includes an innovation and modernisation fund.

Through this fund, we’re constantly exploring new ways to improve safety and journeys, connect the country and drive the economy. It has five themes which are revolutionising travel and work on our roads:

Design, construction and maintenance – Finding innovative and more effective ways to design, build and maintain our roads.

Connected and autonomous vehicles – Supporting the move to semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles, while putting users’ safety at the forefront of emerging technologies.

Customer mobility – Providing seamless and sustainable journeys for our customers through reliable, information-rich highways.

Energy and environment – Saving energy, reducing our environmental impact and delivering value for money through sustainable road enhancements and renewals.

Operations – Unlocking capacity on our roads and making them safer for the people who use and work on them.

Our model for delivering innovation