National Highways has launched a competition inviting new ideas to make drivers’ experience of road works easier.
The government-owned company is inviting organisations to compete for funding and the opportunity to test their innovations on its network.
It said the competition, in collaboration with Connected Places Catapult, aims to identify new technology, products or services that can make a positive difference to people’s experience of road works, whether they are driving through the roadworks or living nearby.
Executive director of major projects Nicola Bell said the brief is deliberately wide because National Highways wants a range of ideas.
She said: ‘Road works are essential as we invest billions of pounds ensuring our roads are managed, developed and maintained, but that work can impact on day-to-day lives and the local economy.
‘Through this competition we hope to find solutions that we haven’t yet trialled, tested or even thought of ourselves that will make a difference for road users, communities and businesses impacted by works.’
National Highways said the competition will allow smaller enterprises, which haven’t traditionally had the opportunity to work directly with it, to showcase their ideas.
Competition winners will receive:
- up to £15,000 funding to explore the feasibility of using their new or existing technology, product or idea on National Highways’ roads
- technical and commercial support from experts at Connected Places Catapult to help develop and scale up their innovation
- support and guidance from National Highways’ technical experts and their delivery partners
Up to 10 solutions will be selected to test the feasibility of their products with the winners given the opportunity to apply for further funding to trial their innovation on the strategic road network.
The most successful ideas in the trials will be taken forward with National Highways and its supply chain, working towards full commercialisation.
The competition launches on Monday (5 September). Organisations thinking of entering the competition can join a webinar on 19 September.
The closing date competition is 9 October and the winners will be announced in January.
Nicola Bell is a judge at the Highways Awards next month.