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ADEPT launches report on the highways systems of the future at House of Commons

30 October 2017

The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) have launched their report on delivering digital innovation to the highways systems.

Sponsored by Ringway in partnership with O2 and EY, ‘The route to the highways systems of the future' was launched at an event in the House of Commons on Monday 30th October.

Local Authorities and their partners face big challenges in constructing, operating and maintaining local road networks and highways infrastructure at a time of increasing demand, greater financial pressures and deteriorating assets.

The total highways network in England is 188,000 miles, with 2% of this, just 8,000 miles of Strategic Road Network (SRN) managed by Highways England.

The remainder, which includes the nascent Major Road Network (MRN) is managed by Local Highways Authorities, usually the county council or unitary authority for a particular area.

While both the SRN and MRN will be funded in part through Vehicles Excise Duty, the question of how digital innovation can be implemented across the overwhelming majority of the highways system remains.

The report explores how digital innovation can be used to overcome these challenges and deliver the strong alignment between highways, business growth, housing supply, cleaner air and environment that is needed over the coming decades.

The research reports on the findings of five working groups that considered how adopting innovative technology could be accelerated in the context of increasing demand, greater financial pressures and deteriorating highway assets.

The report provides a framework that can accelerate local digital innovation, consistently and robustly by sharing good practice and demonstrating how innovation can potentially be delivered at scale.

ADEPT President, Simon Neilson said: “This report provides a work-in progress examination of how we can improve performance for the 180bn+ vehicle miles per year that use the majority of often rural highways systems outside the SRN and MRN.

“Digitally enabled highways systems are fundamental not only to the future of highways asset management, but will be a major contributor to the UK’s future success in the global economy. We need Local Highways Authorities to be able to share expertise and best practice to avoid a piecemeal and staggered roll out across the country.

“ADEPT will be a champion for the proposals outlined in the report, ready to take the lead to advocate radical changes in the construction, management and user experience of our highways.”


Notes to Editors:

For more information and further case studies, please contact Julie Everett at Coast Communications on 01579 352600 or 07866002635 or email

The report: ‘The Route to the 'Highways Systems of the Future' can be downloaded here:

Longer summaries of the Professional Services worksteam and Academia workstream can be found under 'Documents' and 'Briefing Notes'.


The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) represents local authority county, unitary and metropolitan Directors. Operating at the strategic tier of local government, members are responsible for delivering public services that primarily relate to the physical environment and the economy, but which have a significant impact on all aspects of the nation’s well-being. ADEPT represents members' interests by proactively engaging central Government on emerging policy & issues, promoting initiatives aimed at influencing Government policy and through the development of best practices and responding to European and UK Government initiatives and consultations.

For more information on ADEPT please visit the website:

About Ringway

A wholly owned subsidiary of Eurovia UK, Ringway is one of the leading providers of highways services. The company operates and maintains more than 50,000km of both local and strategic road networks on behalf of highway authorities throughout the UK.

Ringway has been delivering services to local and central government highway authorities for more than 40 years, including construction and major maintenance works such as road construction and resurfacing. In addition, the company provides core services of planned and reactive highways maintenance, winter planning and delivery, highway emergency response, gully cleansing, street lighting installation and maintenance, grass cutting and traffic management.

The company operates on long-term contracts throughout the country, including Bracknell Forest, Cheshire West and Chester, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, North Yorkshire, Shropshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and Worcestershire. It also maintains the Highways England network in the south west covering the strategic network within Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

In addition, two 25-year Private Finance Initiative contracts (PFIs) in the London Borough of Hounslow and the Isle of Wight encompass design services, asset management, integrated traffic control and information systems management and maintenance.

Founded in 1976, Ringway has achieved continuous growth and currently has an annual turnover of £320million and a workforce of over 2,600.

About O2

Telefónica UK Limited is a leading digital communications company owned by Telefónica S.A. O2 is the commercial brand of Telefónica UK Limited and is the mobile network operator with the highest customer satisfaction in the UK according to Ofcom. With over 25 million customers, O2 runs 2G, 3G and 4G networks across the UK, as well as operating its nationwide O2 Wifi service. O2 has over 450 retail stores and sponsors The O2, O2 Academy venues and England Rugby.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. EY’s insights and services help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over.

EY’s Local Public Services team are trusted advisors to local authorities and public organisations across the diverse range of challenges being faced by the sector, including how to achieve innovative, commercial, and efficient services in the face of financial austerity and external disruption. 

The team includes specialists with a strong track record delivering highways and transport transformation, and are passionate about supporting clients in building resilience into existing infrastructure as well as taking advantage of emerging technological opportunities.