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



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 complimentary 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