The Government has announced a multimillion-pound initiative to improve local roads across England.
Unveiled on 13 August, the package will see councils receive a share of £15 million to improve their traffic light systems to cut congestion, boost safety and reduce journey times and emissions – a commitment set out in the Transport Decarbonisation Plan.
It also outlines the Government’s commitment to speed up research into new and innovative ways to fix potholes.
This includes exploring how new technology – such as drones and 3D printing – could be used to find and fix potholes.
The Government says the funding is part of its drive to level up the country’s transport network.
Grant Shapps, transport secretary, said: “Whether you’re a motorist, cyclist or pedestrian, every road-user across our country deserves the best possible journey.
“That’s why, despite already having some of the best and safest roads in the world, this government is providing millions of pounds to improve them further still.
“This vital funding and work will cut journey times for millions of people, reduce emissions and keep the UK at the forefront of technological developments in roads maintenance as we continue to invest in local economies and build back both better and greener from the pandemic.”
The £15 million package builds on the £1.125 billion that has already been made available to local authorities for local road maintenance.
Councils will be expected to not only use the extra funding to repair and improve existing traffic signals, but also consider how to future-proof their local road networks and prepare for technological innovations.
In addition to these measures, DfT has also announced the development of a new data standard for local road condition monitoring, which will allow councils to use multiple technologies to carry out road condition surveys for national reporting purposes.
The funding has been welcomed by the RAC.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “Additional investment to cut congestion and make pothole repairs better for the future is very welcome.
“Improving traffic lights can make a significant difference to local roads by efficiently maximising the number of vehicles that can safely pass through junctions while hitting a pothole can be an expensive and even a dangerous experience.
“We look forward to seeing how drivers and road users more widely can benefit from the use of 21st-century technology to repair their local roads more quickly.”