Since the Romans put us on the straight and not-so-narrow road, the UK has become a world leader in highways innovation and is now setting new standards in automation, digitisation and artificial intelligence.
AI systems are now scanning and monitoring the network on a daily basis; detecting assets, monitoring deterioration and even teaching themselves how to better understand the world of roads.
While the UK is helping lead the way with driverless car technology, driverless trucks are being trialled on a works site by national roads operator Highways England.
And as for becoming digital ready, the Department for Transport is helping develop the Local Authority Mobility Platform (LAMP); an initiative ‘to promote a single platform to allow data sharing across all the different systems in local authorities including areas such as urban traffic management control, parking data and asset management’.
Editor of Highways Magazine, Dominic Browne, says: 'Every year the Highways Awards event celebrates excellence in the roads sector, and every year new, imaginative ideas and solutions are developed that make the industry more sustainable, more environmentally friendly, and more digital ready.
'The UK, along with every nation in the EU, is developing a National Access Point to help create a ‘single repository for transport data’, which will drive vehicle-to-infrastructure connectivity, deployments and services.
'The world of highways is based on providing a rock solid foundation for the economy but more and more its head is in the cloud, developing powerful computer learning and automated systems to drive efficiency, increase safety and keep us as the forefront of the world’s infrastructure industry.
'Where once, roads were firmly in the physical world, the UK roads sector is increasingly being powered by data.'
The winners will be announced at a gala evening on Wednesday 9 October at the Lancaster London, hosted Colin Murray, TV and radio presenter.
The Highways Awards are independently judged by a panel of representatives from across the UK, including the Department for Transport, Transport Scotland, the Welsh Government, Transport NI Eastern Division, Highways England, ADEPT, the Road Safety Foundation and the Institute of Highway Engineers.