Title: Strategic Road Network Initial Report
Organisation: Highways England
Date uploaded: 16th January 2018
Date published/launched: December 2017
In the report, Highways England says an intelligent network coupled with connected vehicles would improve how efficiently roads are maintained and at the same time improve safety.
The report outlines eight aspirations for the period 2020-25, including a focus on maintenance and renewals, building the smart motorway spine of the network and the roll out of ‘expressways’, which the report says will ‘provide many of the benefits of a motorway performance road without the conventional costs’.
The report also outlines a pilot project by the Nottingham Transport Engineering Centre to create ‘self-healing roads’.
Laboratory tests and pilot trials show that mixing capsules of oil into the asphalt used for resurfacing has the potential to increase the lifespan of roads by at least a third.
When cracks start to appear in the road, the capsules split open and release the oil, which in turn softens the asphalt and helps it bind together again.
The report says the system has the potential to reduce the cost of repairs by £260m a year, will now be tested on sections of road as maintenance work is carried out.
In another development, the report says drones could be used to report incidents on Highways England's network, in a bid to improve response times.
The DfT has launched a consultation into the report, which will run until 7 February 2018. The results of the consultation will be used to help develop the next Road Investment Strategy, which the Government is expected to publish in 2019.
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