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Is the UK’s road infrastructure ready for the smart vehicle revolution?

Connected and autonomous vehicles are expected to lead the next urban transport revolution, transforming the way roads are managed. But how can autonomous vehicles best be accommodated within the existing network, and how should urban transport management adapt for the new era?

Simon Rawlinson

Head Of Strategic Research and Insight +44 (0)20 7812 2319 Ask me a question

“Accommodating autonomous vehicles in the existing network will require traffic management systems to balance the needs of increasingly diverse road users.”

As traffic volumes have grown and a wider range of users compete for road space, the challenge of maintaining traffic flow has expanded. Congestion in London alone costs £4bn a year in lost productivity, so traffic management plays an essential role in regional competitiveness. 

The tools available to manage traffic flow are becoming more sophisticated, but balancing the conflicting demands of car-users and pedestrians while accommodating ongoing system-wide changes - such as the growth in “white-van” deliveries driven by internet shopping - requires a more advanced approach. 

The future of transport management

The road network is a shared resource that needs to be used intelligently. However, the development of connected and autonomous vehicles, combined with the availability of “always-on” digital services, will fundamentally reshape urban transport. The implication for the maintenance, renewal and configuration of the UK’s existing road infrastructure is huge. 

With 96% of the network managed by local authorities, the flexibility to manage regional traffic patterns will become a source of competitive advantage. This means it is increasingly valuable for local traffic authorities to be able to manage the network in real time. Additional capacity is not always the answer; instead an effective transport management strategy needs to facilitate the free flow of traffic with greater certainty. 

If connected and autonomous vehicle technology is adopted at scale, it creates a real opportunity around the future of travel and how our networks need to be managed.

 
Download the full insight below to find out more. 

Questions about this article

Simon Rawlinson

Head Of Strategic Research and Insight +44 (0)20 7812 2319 Ask me a question

Arcadis White paper

Smart Vehicles

Connected and autonomous vehicles are expected to lead the next urban transport revolution, transforming the way roads are managed. But how can autonomous vehicles best be accommodated within the existing network, and how should urban transport management adapt for the new era?

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