Getting involved


Taking part in innovation


To get involved with innovation at Highways England, you can contact us if you can help with our key themes and challenges, and get involved in any targeted research and innovation competitions we either run or support.







Connecting with us

How to get in touch with us if you can help with our key themes and challenges:

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Challenges and Competitions

To help us solve some of our challenges, we plan to run targeted research and innovation competitions. These competitions will support the transformation of the strategic road network by unlocking new knowledge for our future. The challenges will be informed by our innovation themes, and business requirements, and will support our three imperatives, safety, delivery and customer service.

Anyone with a potential solution is welcome to apply.


Open competitions and challenges


Developing digital roads and improving air quality

Highways England is currently funding two parallel competitions for solutions and ideas for the design and use on UK roads.

The company is looking to invest in creative solutions covering six themes:

  • Design, construction and maintenance
  • Connected and autonomous vehicles
  • Customer mobility
  • Energy and the environment
  • Operations
  • Air quality

The two competitions reflect the different stages of project development; one is for proven feasibility projects at development stage (higher TRL), and other for unproven feasibility projects (low TRL) but which show great potential. Projects must be suitable for trial on England’s strategic road network of motorways and major A roads. Projects are expected to start by September this year.

SBRI competition

Developing digital roads and improving air quality (development or pilot only, 1 phase) :
This competition is for proven feasibility projects at development stage (higher TRL).

Developing digital roads and improving air quality (feasibility study and development or pilot, 2 phases):

This competition is for unproven feasibility projects (low TRL).

The bids and applications process are being facilitated by Innovate UK, the innovation agency. All applications must be made via the Innovate UK website – please do not submit any applications for this competition via Highways England Innovations Hub or your entry will not be accepted.


Entries can be submitted from Monday 11 February 2019 to 8 May 2019.


Previous competitions

Applying and removing road markings This is now closed

Entries are invited for innovative projects or research into better ways to apply and remove road markings.

One of the areas identified for specific research is the application and removal of road markings. We have for some time been concerned about impact of this procedure, due to driver uncertainty as to the actual lane direction, where removed or masked lines still appear as a contrast to the surrounding surface; plus, cracks and potholes caused when the surface breaks up under removal of the old lines with over aggressive removal techniques.

Highways UK 2018 Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge This is now closed

Highways UK are seeking entries for an Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge. There are four challenge categories covering safety, congestion, air pollution and cost. Full details of the competition can be found on the Highways UK website.

Highways UK 2018 Materials Innovation HubThis is now closed

Highways UK are seeking entries for an Intelligent Infrastructure Challenge. There are four challenge categories covering safety, congestion, air pollution and cost. Full details of the competition can be found on the Highways UK website.

Highways UK 2017 Intelligent Infrastructure Hub
Highways England’s Challenge

This challenge reached out to industry to demonstrate an economically viable solution for traffic monitoring and control in any road with beneficial impacts on customer safety, journeys and/or road maintenance.
We are working with overall winners Valerann to test their intelligent road stud in working conditions.

Roads for the Future

Highways England alongside the National Infrastructure Commission and Innovate UK conducted a new innovation prize, for ideas on how to deliver a world-class road network in the UK ready for connected and autonomous vehicles. Further details can be found in the following link:
Roads for the Future