Our approach

Value for our road users

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

We will actively engage with research institutions and universities in discovering new knowledge. Through working with wider stakeholders and enabling test trials of new applications, we will use this knowledge to innovate. By successfully integrating our continuous improvement processes, we will realise efficiency and productivity opportunities, and embed this into new standards.


We initiate research to unlock new knowledge to transform the strategic road network.

Our research fits into three timelines:

  • 2020-2025 Short term activities – for successful delivery of the next Road Investment Strategy
  • 2025-2035 Medium term activities – for informing and supporting future Road Investment Strategies
  • 2035-2050 Long-term activities – for pursuing our future aspirations leading up to 2050 and beyond.

Research & academia

What we are doing:

  • Leading as an active participant in research
  • Finding new ways to solve our current and future challenges
  • Strengthening our relationships with research institutions, academia, infrastructure operators and industry.
  • Collaborating with academic experts and specialists to align research with our strategic goals
  • Attracting and developing new talent to the sector


We run our Innovation Programmes to develop, test and implement new products, services and processes to improve the way we operate and maintain our strategic road network

What we are doing:

  • Setting direction and our approach to drive our innovation culture
  • Managing and delivering our Innovation Programme of targeted portfolios and projects
  • Developing partnerships with our operational directorates, our supply chain, Innovate UK, industry, Catapults, i3P and overseas roads administrations.
  • Managing and publishing the results of our projects​​​​​​​

Contact us regarding innovation Innovation@highwaysengland.co.uk


We have an established Lean capability that supports our staff and delivery partners in the use of Lean techniques, enabling the delivery of continuous improvement.

What we are doing:

  • Realising and delivering significant efficiencies
  • Developing  the capability of staff and delivery partners in the use of Lean continuous improvement techniques to support the delivery of the company’s Key Performance Indicators
  • Supporting staff and delivery partners continuously improving performance in safety, customer satisfaction and efficiency
  • Supporting delivery teams to drive improvement demonstrated by increased productivity

Further Information


We are building our ‘technical standards enterprise system’ to digitalise our design standards development, enabling more timely updates to help implement innovation as business as usual

What we are doing:

  • Supporting and enabling faster publication of the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges and the updating of the Manual Contracts Highways Work specifications
  • Enhancing quality, timeliness and processing of standards departures
  • Developing National Highway Sector Schemes that set out the competency levels for operatives working on the UK road network

Our standards manuals

Contact us regarding standards Standards_Enquiries@highwaysengland.co.uk