How it works

Innovation at Highways England

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 innovation journey

The diagram above 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.

We have two funding streams for our innovation programmes of work:

Innovation designated funds

To allow for actions beyond business as usual, as part of our wider portfolio of Designated Funds, the Road Investment Strategy sets out designated funding to support innovation. The total funding available is set at £150 million, with a £30 million allocation for 2020 to 2021.
We will use designated funding to “actively encourage more innovation and use of technology to support improving average delay, safety on roads and environmental considerations.”
There are different innovation themes including safety, data and information, improving our infrastructure, new and emerging technology and support to sustainable operations.

The Innovation programme

Our Innovation Programme budget is around £30 million/year, from which a significant portion is targeted at core business, with approximately £10 million focused on research and innovation. It is a key mechanism by which Highways England develops and implements new products, services & processes to improve the way we operate maintain and improve the strategic road network in England. The programme consists of portfolio themes to deliver our projects.

Our model for delivering innovation