Lord Adonis today issued a challenge to Britain’s brightest and best, to submit their ideas for developing a world-class road network ready for generations of driverless cars.
The chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission confirmed plans for a new “Roads for the Future” competition, working with Highways England and Innovate UK, to see how the latest technology can be applied not just to the vehicles themselves, but also to the motorways, main roads and high streets they’ll be driven on.
The plans form part of today’s Budget statement from the Chancellor.
The UK is among world-leaders in developing connected and autonomous vehicles, with the first such cars already being tested. Lord Adonis today warned that as the technology improves and progresses, work must start now on the road network to ensure the country can make the most of this opportunity.
The new competition will be launched in the New Year, with entrants asked to consider issues such as road design, traffic management and how the rules of the road may need to be adapted to take account of this new technology.
Entries will be judged by an expert panel drawn from Government and industry, with the winners given funding to further develop their ideas, and having the chance to have their ideas tested.
Chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission Lord Adonis said:
“There was a gap of some six decades between the first motor car appearing on our roads and the opening of the first motorway – we cannot afford to repeat that mistake and must ensure our roads keep up with the changes in technology.
“Once the preserve of sci-fi, the driverless car is now tantalisingly close and as companies spend billions developing these new vehicles, we need to turn our attention to the roads they appear on. But this isn’t just about building new – this is also about adapting our existing network.
“Our ‘Roads for the Future’ competition offers a challenge to the country’s brightest and best, to develop their ideas for how our roads adapt to this digital age, and help ensure that when these new cars become available people can use them easily and with confidence to get from A to B.”