Council directors have set out how they will use a £30,000 government grant to help achieve a ‘step change’ in the performance of the local road network through the use of smart infrastructure.


The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the cash for directors’ body ADEPT on Monday ‘to work on technological and innovative improvements to future-proof the local road network’.


It follows a report from ADEPT last autumn, which warned that local authorities need to take a proactive approach to avoid falling behind as digital innovation is applied on the strategic road network (SRN) and in large smart cities.


Neil Gibson, first vice president of ADEPT, said ‘We welcome the involvement of the Department for Transport in supporting our work on future proofing the local road network through the utilisation of smart infrastructure.


‘The DfT's co-funding, alongside our other commercial partners, will assist with the development of the business case to create live labs at scale in either new development or by retrofitting.


‘The live labs will test the bringing together of technological advances encompassing communications, energy and materials latest thinking and support anticipated technology changes such as electric, connected and autonomous vehicles across all the potential uses of passengers and freight.’


He added: ‘This ambitious programme, which includes both small single corridor projects and large scale market town schemes, aims to achieve a step change in the performance of highways and associated supporting assets, linking SMART infrastructure to support local needs.


'We are exploring how to linking innovative infrastructure with people, the assets they use, the places they visit and the activities they undertake.'


ADEPT announced earlier this month that it had commissioned WSP to write three business cases for three prototype projects for the next phase of its work on its SMART Places Research Programme, which includes digital innovation on highways:

  • Getting to grips with data
  • Running highways and AV 'live labs'
  • A knowledge hub 'aggregator'