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Smart roads strategy unveiled

Motorway 3x2

Highways England will today publish its Innovation Strategy, spelling out its plans for trials of wireless vehicles and driverless cars.

It has £150M to develop new technology for roads, including trials for driverless cars.

The strategy includes plans for a trial on the A2/M2 between London and Kent, where specially adapted vehicles will have a wi-fi connection so that they receive advance notice of road closures or congestion. There will also be trials of radar technology at the Hindhead tunnel in Surrey, which will detect stopped vehicles so as to speed up breakdown recovery.

”We’re committed to using innovation to benefit the millions of journeys made on England’s strategic road network today and in the future,” said Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan. ”We will work with our partners in the supply chain, technology specialists and the automotive industry to trial new technologies that will help make journeys on our roads safer, more reliable and better informed.

“This will involve supporting trials of better connected and autonomous vehicles on our motorways by the end of next year, testing radar technology to better detect breakdowns, and trialling fuel price signs on the M5 between Bristol and Exeter.”

The strategy also includes trials for driverless cars on motorways by the end of next year. This will test the performance of the cars and their impact on capacity.

Other areas of the strategy including looking at how motorway junction signalling can be improved to boost traffic flow. Using sensors to give infrastructure condition information will also be investigated. The government also wants to encourage the use of “expressways” on A-roads, where there will be technology to improve driver information.

Eventually Highways England could open a test and innovation centre for this research.


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