The Department for Transport is investing £10 million in a new digital roadworks planner called Street Map, which will make existing traffic mapping apps more accurate and allowing smart new ones to be developed.
The government believes it will help providers such as Waze and Google Maps, and also allow the creation of entirely new ways for motorists to avoid traffic.
It is even hoped that latest roadworks data could be shared in apps via ‘push’ notifications, enabling motorists to instantly pick a new route.
The current system, it admits, is a mess: it’s “costly and ineffective”, and so out of date, local authorities and utility companies can’t accurately record and share data on Britain’s annual 2.5 million roadworks.
Ministers hope companies will use Street Manager to coordinate work and minimise the effect of multiple works.
To further encourage this, the government has published new guidance that lets councils charge utility companies £2,500 a day to carry out roadworks on the busiest roads at the busiest times.
“Roadworks can often be frustrating for motorists,” said Roads Minister Jesse Norman, “especially when they cause hold-ups at busy times and delay journeys.
“Street Manager is just one of a number of actions we are taking so that local authorities and utility companies can better plan and manage their roadworks.
“The data opened up by this new digital service should enable motorists to plan their journeys better, so they can avoid works and get to their destinations more easily.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has also called upon utilities to do their bit in cutting traffic. He has asked them to carry out works on pavements rather than under roads, to avoid disrupting motorists.