skip to content

Digital Roads of the Future


Welcome to the Digital Roads Annual Review 2023

Thank you to everyone that joined us to celebrate our first annual review and workshop that was held at the West Hub in Cambridge on 8 September 2023. 

A short summary of Digital Roads, and our progress in our first year can be found here in our Annual Review booklet (automatic download of pdf)

The morning opened with a joint presentation from Prof Durkan, Head of the Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, welcoming on behalf of the University and Department, covering the importance to the University of industrial collaboration, to root research deep into industry, bringing value to the nation through cutting edge research implemented in our infrastructure. Followed by Prof Middleton, welcoming on behalf of the Division and the Group outlining the environment in which Digital Roads is being undertaken, the other research programmes that the Division and group have and continue to run and how Digital Roads benefits from the fertile research and expertise available to the team. 

This was followed by Richard Pedley, Chief Digital and Information Officer at National Highways​, delivering a keynote talk about the strategic needs of National Highways and the importance of research in that space.

We were delighted that Richard was able to stay with us throughout the day.  








Following Richard’s keynote, Prof Ioannis Brilakis and Dr Lavindra de Silva presented the progress and achievements of the project over the first year.

The first year of the project has seen us establish a road dataset to develop the backbone of our cyber-physical platform and the initiation of the research themes that will feed into that platform. The Progress update was supported by research posters from each of the Digital Roads work packages in the networking space:

  1. Digital Twins
  2. Smart Materials
  3. Data Science
  4. Automation & Robotics
  5. Delivering Impact

and a VR demonstration of the data preparation work that has been carried out on the Digital Roads dataset. A curated subset of the dataset is available here. 

After the break, our panel met to discuss how to address National Highways strategic needs through the four pillars of Digital Roads: Digital Twins, Smart Materials, Data Science and Automation and Robotics. 

The panel saw Richard Pedley return, accompanied by George Economides from DfT and Lorraine Butler of National Highways and facilitated by Dr Cathy Cardno, Editor-in-Chief of Civil Engineering Online at American Society of Civil Engineers.

<<Video of the Panel coming soon>>

The afternoon session provided an opportunity to gather feedback and guidance from the audience about the Digital Roads project as we move into our second year ensuring the  most effective and productive ways that the project can grow and deliver value over the coming years. Thank you all for your contributions.

If you have any questions, please email us on

This is the outline agenda for the Digital Roads Annual Review
Timing Detail Speakers

09:00 – 09:30​

Arrivals, tea & coffee​

09:30 – 09:35​

Housekeeping,  itinerary, feedback tools and initial questions​

 DRF Management​

09:35 – 09:45​

Opening Welcome from University of Cambridge

Professor Colm Durkan and Professor Campbell Middleton, University of Cambridge​

09:45 – 10:00 ​

Keynote - The strategic needs of the client where research will have an impact ​

Richard Pedley, Chief Digital & Information Officer, National Highways​

10:00 – 11:15​

Research ambition and project outcomes presentation:  DR data set, other research outputs. Research: what we have done and where are going - themes​

Prof Ioannis Brilakis and Dr Lavindra de Silva​

11:15 – 11:45​

Break (Slido questions from morning session)​

11:45 – 12:45​

Panel: Framing the strategic needs of National Highways across all of the DR themes. ​

Lorraine Butler, National Highways, George Economides​, DfT and Richard Pedley, National Highways will be facilitated by Dr Catherine Cardno, Editor in Chief of Civil Engineering Online, American Society of Civil Engineers

12:45 – 13:30​

Lunch – Networking session (Slido Q& A prep)​

13:30 – 14:30​

How to engage with Digital Roads & pipeline of opportunity​

Tim Embley, Costain and Philip Proctor, National Highways

14:30 -14:55​

Our focus on the client solution from the research & reflections on the day​

Tim Embley, Group Research & Innovation Director, Costain

14:55 – 15:00​

Conclusion & wrap up​