National Highways develops automation and digital strategy for roads and road projects | New Civil Engineer
National Highways has begun a digital revolution, adopting new technologies for road maintenance and operation.
As the world of construction technology evolves, National Highways’ digital strategy is moving with it.
In September, the roads operator revealed a swathe of new initiatives and systems as part of its new digital roads strategy – a plan that includes connected and autonomous vehicles, digital twins and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors.
The strategy has a clear purpose. National Highways chief digital and information officer Victoria Higgin explains the important role of innovation.
“It’s about keeping up,” she says. “Making sure we’re an attractive place to work and we can attract talent. Our mission is connecting the country. We don’t want to be behind. We want to push boundaries and lead the way.”
We don’t want to be behind. We want to push boundaries and lead the way
In addition to this, traditional road maintenance methods present challenges in relation to “resources, materials and scheduling and lining all of those up,” says Higgin. She adds that completing work efficiently, for example doing several items of work simultaneously, can reduce the impact of roadworks on journeys.
“In an ideal world, if you’re doing maintenance, you’d do everything together but you need visibility of everything to see what needs to be done on the network. You need data,” she explains.