Self-healing roads and robots carrying out road works are among ideas that Highways England wants to see submitted as part of two new funding competitons.
Highways England has launched two competitions calling for proposals to “revolutionise roads and driving”, setting aside £20M to invest in successful project ideas.
One competition for ideas to develop research projets with unproven feasibility. The other is for proven projects which are at the development stage.
Highways England wants to invest in creative solutions covering six themes: design, construction and maintenance, connected & autonomous vehicles, customer mobility, energy and the environment, operations, and air quality.
Money for the winning ideas comes from two of Highways England’s designated funds which it has set aside for innovation and air quality projects.
Highways England executive director for safety, engineering and standards Mike Wilson said: “This is an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs, collaborative partnerships, and organisations of any size to help shape the roads of the future.
“And we’re keen to engage with a wider network than we have traditionally worked with.”
Examples of projects that could receive funding, according to Highways England, include “roads which repair themselves, robotic construction methods, and improved connections between different modes of transport”.
Entries, which can be submitted from 11 February 2019 to 8 May 2019, must be suitable for a trial on England’s strategic road network. Projects are expected to start by September this year.
Bids will be administered by Innovate UK and will be accepted from organisations of any size.
Anyone interested in entering the competition is encouraged to join a webinar, hosted by Innovate UK and Highways England on 14 February.