Inspiration


Our projects


We are stimulating innovation across the highways sector. Successful innovation requires implementation across our business from fundamental research to the effective implementation of standards.



Examples

Here we feature examples of our innovation projects. This section will be regularly updated, and over time we will build a library of innovation projects, past and present



  • Mobile barrier will provide exceptional protection for the road workers and motorists across many avenues of works carried out across the network.
  • Innovation Designated Funds

Designed to provide protection for work zone incursions for road workers.

Mobile barrier provides exceptional protection for both road workers and motorists and reduces the severity of incidents in and around work zones.
It acts as a physical protection vehicle, absorbing impacts from moving vehicles if struck from the side. A lorry mounted crash cushion behind gives further protection from the rear and chapter 8 compliant lighting and signage provides ample visibility for all.

Mobile Barrier possibilities are being developed to further reduce road worker exposure. The barriers originated in the United States where work zones incursions have led to several fatalities. Highways England and Kier are keen to adopt that learning and further enhance safety measures here in the UK, made possible with support from Innovation Designated Funds.

  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • Innovative new materials – M6 NE Spur
  • Once the product secures European Certification and can be widely used on tour network, great programme and customer benefit will be realised

Rapid Set repair concretes, based on Calcium Sulfo-Aluminate (CSA) cement, can achieve high strengths in 18 to 24 hours rather than the normal 3 days – a 75% reduction. This provides great benefit in programme betterment and also reduces worker exposure on a live network and customer impact.

Area 9 looked to use the product on heavily trafficked sections of the Midland Links Motorway Viaduct to gain programme benefits as any traffic management within this vicinity adversely impacts upon Highways England and adjoining Local Highway Authorities network.

A Departure was required and approval for use agreed with SES. Site trials were carried out to ensure that CSA concrete could be placed to achieve successful bridge deck repairs. The use of this new material can save 2 days for every concrete repair stage. Although these new concrete repair products have a cost premium, this is more than outweighed by the reductions in scheme duration, road user disruption and road worker exposure to live lanes.

Traditional concrete repair materials require 3 days curing after placing, in order for it to attain strength -clearly not achievable on highly trafficked sections of motorway. The weekend delivery model resulted in an 18-21 hour window whereby concrete repairs had to be undertaken and cured in time to complete follow on activities and return the network back to service in time for the Monday morning. The use of the rapid set materials afforded us this opportunity as they are able to achieve the required strengths in the 24 hour window. We utilised full weekend lane closures to carry out the repairs and were able to resurface and open the lane fully for the Monday morning peak. A great result

  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLZbUiMdIlw
  • Hydro Demolition will deliver efficiencies in programme, reduce costs and above all reduce the exposure to the workforce.
  • Innovation Designated Funds

 

Trident Hydro demolition working with CLM Construction have discovered a potential innovative method of surface preparation using ultra high pressure water that may benefit future works substantially on 3 very crucial elements associated with construction works, safety, environment and cost.

Traditionally surface preparation has been utilised on schemes for the removal of the historic  paint cathodic protection systems and also to provide a suitable surface grade with which to apply cementitious overlays. Originally this was completed by grit blast process which then improved to a spinning head on a jetting lance, and more recently utilising a “fan jet”.

Trident and CLM have worked together to devise another method adding further improvement to the surface preparation process.

The machine is an ultra high pressure water pump that works up to 42,000 p.s.i. which has been specifically designed to capture both waste and water at the jetting head.

The machine may also carry the following benefits:

  • Greatly reduces the total amount of water used – environmental benefit
  • Potentially removing the requirement for the tight containment on scaffold – cost/program saving and H&S benefit by removal of process
  • Potentially removing the clean up process following current hydro demolition works – cost/program saving and H&S benefit by removal of process
  • Potentially removing the requirement of scaffold access during surface preparations – cost/program saving and H&S benefit by removal of process
  • Potential removal of a man on the jetting end, this can be fitted to a cherry picker and be controlled remotely – removal of the man away from the jetting gun greatly reduces the risk element of the activity for that individual
  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


To research and develop excavators equipped with radar technology and sensors to build a model of the environment and buried assets, reducing the likelihood of damaging buried assets, and also digging trenches faster at a lower cost compared to contemporary diggers.
 
The aim is to improve operative safety and reduce damage and associated costs in industry.
 
The first iteration of the intelligent excavation platform will be demonstrated using an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) excavator, which will have a selection of sensors and devices and some pre-existing data streams. The vision is to create an intelligent excavator data fusion platform that will move the industry towards automation. The excavator will have an on-board multisensory processing unit and human machine interface to guide the operator and provide decision support for managing risk during excavation operations

  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • Pre-registering of dangerous goods vehicles over Dartford Crossing
  • Designated Funds

The key benefit of the Dartford Dangerous Goods Vehicles (DGV) Check & Allow Tool is to reduce the number of HGV movements at Junction 1a of the A282 by around 800 per day. This will have real benefits in reducing congestion in this area and allow a number of hauliers to operate their fleets more efficiently.

The system would enable DGV operators to register their journeys in advance, via a website and/or smartphone app. Users would be subject to strict T&Cs to ensure that they operate safely, with penalties if they breach the agreement.

It will allow more reliable journey planning, reduced disruption at the Crossing and reduced congestion at Junction1a and the connecting local road network. Upon realisation of the benefits of this proposal the tool can potentially be rolled out to other tunnels on the SRN.

  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • Winner of the CIHT national awards
  • Highways England’s Health, Safety, and Wellbeing awards winner
  • Innovation Designated Funds

We have completed provisional evaluation for SAFETYcam, a project sponsored through our Innovation Designated Funds.

SAFETYcam is a mobile site safety innovation which protects road workers by using two complementry vehicle detection systems, automatic number plate recognition combined with 360° video, and speed detection cameras, to capture instances of dangerous driving, whilst providing a conspicuous visual deterrent and actively changing driver behaviour.

The trial has proven successful in reducing site speeds, clearly demonstrating a positive change in site driver behaviour. Since the start of the trial on 31 July 2017, the SAFETYcam vehicles have only recorded 3 unauthorised incursions where the drivers have been seeking to gain an advantage. We are exploring options to implement this on a wider scale.

  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • A testbed for incident detection in a live environment
  • Developing our future technologies
  • Innovation Designated Funds

The project will deliver a functional, standalone testbed for tunnel detection technologies, to allow new detectors to be developed and evaluated in a live tunnel environment without impacting live operations.

The test bed will allow us to evaluate a variety of equipment within a live environment, and will be flexible to allow different types of technologies to be installed.  This will better inform us of the capability and suitability of detector technologies for use in the future, and should introduce a continuous improvement cycle.

We will benefit by; improved understanding of tunnel safety technology, better informed designs, future safety benefits and reduced delays from improvements in incident detection and clearance.


  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • Testing CAV technology and examining safety issues
  • Part of the UK CITE Consortium

Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technology is developing rapidly. The UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UK CITE) consortium is a major project that will enable automotive, infrastructure and service provider companies to trial connected vehicle technology, infrastructure and services in real-life conditions. Highways England is a key partner.

The project is focussed at building a real world connected car to infrastructure demonstrator through bringing together multiple technologies for the purpose of testing both the technical and commercial viability of a road network “Connected Corridor” on a route covering the M42/M40/A45/A46 as a foundation for vehicle to vehicle, vehicle to infrastructure and autonomous cars.

The project will establish a living lab test environment that will encourage vehicle manufacturers to use the UK as a hub for connected and CAV research and development.


  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery


  • Develop a large-scale simulation of SRN operations
  • Innovation Designated Funds

We have developed a series of five regional transport models to cover the entire SRN.  The research phase of the project has demonstrated that an order of magnitude step change in performance is possible through the use of new platforms developed by the Gaming industry and cloud computing processing power. 

This research and Innovative approach to simulation / modelling provides Highways England with the opportunity to consolidate future modelling requirements into a single simulation tool.  This will enable better decision making  that could help overcome operational challenges to assess the impact of interventions affecting the operations and planning of the whole SRN. 
 
Our current phase of the project is to perform due diligence checks and to build a basic prototype tool around the Birmingham box for use in our Regional control centres and perform validation checks.  If this phase is successfully completed we will be looking to move to phase three which will be to build a full working Simulation.


  • Safety
  • Customer
  • Delivery