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Congestion caused by roadworks
Congestion caused by roadworks

The University of Birmingham, along with EA Technology, has been selected to undertake a comprehensive study on street and road works sectors, as part of a research project launched by the Highway Authorities and Utilities Committee, (HAUC UK) and Transport for London (TfL) aiming to minimise the impact of street and road works on climate change.

Road and street works form part of the wider infrastructure sector, which is responsible for almost one-sixth of total UK emissions. This project aims to look at how future roadworks can operate with reduced congestion to support the UK’s move to net zero carbon emissions. This includes exploring the deployment zero emissions machinery, as well as studying the required business models and legislation needed to support more sustainable roadworks. At its close, the project will produce an action plan to help implement the changes needed to achieve net zero.

Both the University of Birmingham and EA Technology will delve into the heart of the infrastructure sector to determine how to maximise contribution towards tackling climate change and support the global net zero target. HAUC(UK) and Transport for London are supported by a diverse working group: Thames Water, UK Power Networks, Cadent Gas, Southern Gas Networks, Gigaclear, the London Borough of Southwark and the Greater London Authority, and aided in delivery by GeoPlace.

 

The Birmingham team is focussing on materials and process innovation and measuring environmental performance. For this project, we will establish potential future innovations, design options that incorporate such changes, business models that make transparent the (positive and negative) consequences of making these systemic changes, and analysis of the different forms of governance that influence what is done.

Professor Chris Rogers, University of Birmingham

In 2021 we launched our five-year vision for street and road works in the UK. Central to the strategy is tackling climate change. Customers are more aware of it, the government has set out ambitious plans for it, and the regulators are setting obligations to help meet it. Taking steps to address the role of street and road works un reaching net zero has never been a greater priority, with high expectations on all sectors to deliver a national ambition.

Dave Capon, Co-Chair of HAUC(UK)

Ensuring that our road network can keep people and goods moving is vital and our Lane Rental scheme plays an important role in reducing the impact of roadworks. This major new study will ensure that future roadworks are as sustainable as possible, helping to reduce carbon emissions, clean up toxic air and reduce congestion on our roads. We’re looking forward to seeing the results of the study and to working with the sector to help put its recommendations in place.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s Director of Network Management

We are delighted to be selected as a partner for this forward-looking project. EA Technology will lead the ‘climate change, net zero and beyond’ category which focuses on the sector’s impact on climate change and what smart solutions can be used to achieve net zero. We will deliver a thorough assessment of the carbon emissions of sector vehicles and machinery, quantifying the potential carbon savings that could be achieved by moving to a zero emission fleet.

David Mills, Head of Net Zero Transition at EA Technology

The project will take place over the next eight months with the research findings presented in March 2023. An innovation challenge is expected to follow to tackle some of the outputs, addressing any identified gaps. The aim is to unite the sector in this research and leave a positive legacy for future generations.