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18 Sep 2018
Jamie Gibbs Alice Campion

Digital service to minimise disruptive roadworks

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The government has announced a £10m investment in Street Manager, a new street mapping system that aims to help drivers beat road work delays road works

Earlier this month the government announced the introduction of Street Manager, a digital planning service that aims to reduce congestion by providing data on roadworks and delays. 

The Department for Transport has invested £10 million in the new digital service, which is set to go live next year.

Real-time data used to beat jams

Currently apps like Google maps and Waze use satellites and user-generated reports to create a live travel map. 

When Street Manager is launched, it will provide apps like these with real-time, accurate data on up to 2.5 million roadwork sites in the UK. 

These apps and satnavs will use ‘push' notifications to alert motorists of potential jams, and new routes will be displayed for them to choose from.

The data from Street Manager will also allow other tech-savvy firms to create new products too.

Read more: The 5 best sat navs on the market

4.3 billion loss to the economy due to roadworks 

In addition to helping motorists beat jams, the government hopes its Street Manager programme will be of great benefit to local businesses too.  

The traffic research laboratory estimated that the economy loses £4.3 billion a year as a result of road works.

For example, using the data Street Manager collects, delivery drivers can avoid being held up in long queues due to road works. 

Roads minister Jesse Norman says, “Roadworks can often be frustrating for motorists, especially when they cause hold-ups at busy times and delay journeys.

“The data opened up by this new digital service should enable motorists to plan their journeys better, so they can avoid works and get to their destinations more easily.”

Read more: Autonomous cars: Why we should stop & think before we're sold the self-driving dream

roadworks

Lane rental schemes can reduce traffic by half

Alongside this, the Department of transport are aiming to further reduce traffic by allowing councils to introduce a lane ‘rental scheme’.  

Often local utility companies carry out roadworks on busy roads during times when traffic flow is high. 

In 2016, a fine of £5,000 a day was issued to authorities if road works needlessly inconvenienced motorists. For example if temporary traffic lights were left in place when no work was taking place.

The new scheme will charge utility companies £2,500 a day if they wish to carry out works in peak times. 

This will encourage utility companies to work with local authorities to avoid the charge, and work in off peak periods. 

The lane rental charges have already been rolled out in Kent and London, and congestion in these areas has dropped by half. 

In addition to this, Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, has called on companies to carry out work on pavements instead of under roads.

 First published on 18 September 2018

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