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Digital Roads of the Future


Roads are fundamental for supporting the economy and society. They have also historically been the source of negative environmental impact. Roads are both a source of and a solution to congestion. While roads enable development they are also linked to undesirable phenomena within and between cities – such as inequality and segregation.

We aim to enable a more sustainable future of transport through the Future Roads programme. The key considerations underpinning our thinking are:

  • Advances in technology can help us improve how we build roads and our ability to maintain them. It is also changing how the road space can/could be used – both in terms of the ability to control traffic and the demand to use the road (e.g. working from home)
  • Climate change is a major challenge for a networked infrastructure system that spans across the country and is exposed to the elements
  • Addressing climate change requires us to be able to measure and manage emissions. We need to agree on how to measure, what boundaries we draw around the problem, what assumptions are made and what data is used to inform this. Net zero plans are being established, but there is much more to do to improve data availability and decision-making processes
  • We not only need to think about the impacts of construction, management and maintenance, but consider the wider societal context of the provision of infrastructure services and how they serve society.