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Department for Transport invests £10m in digital journey planner

Digital transport planning system will allow local authorities and utility companies to share and record data on roadworks to reduce disruption and delays for drivers

The Department for Transport (DfT) is pumping £10m into a digital planning service, due to launch next year, which allows motorists to see where and when roadworks and disruptions are taking place in real time.

The digital service, named Street Manager, will allow local councils and utility companies to share and record data on roadworks in England, meaning they can collaborate and coordinate better to reduce strain on drivers being caught up in congestion several times during a single journey. 

The current system in place for doing so is “costly, ineffective and out of date”, according to the DfT.

The department hopes that by opening up the data for tech companies and app developers, current apps like Google maps can improve their service, by being able to provide accurate and real-time information on roadworks, as well as providing opportunities for new products coming to the market.

Roads minister Jesse Norman said roadworks can often be “frustrating for motorists, especially when they cause hold-ups at busy times and delay journeys”.

“We want to reduce this disruption and delay, and 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,” said Norman.

“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.”

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Last month, the government also set out plans to make better use of data in the railway industry, aiming to improve journeys and information for passengers.  

The government wants train companies to publish better and more real-time data to help tech companies create “intelligent travel apps for the future”. Over the next two years, rail companies will release “key datasets” for the tech industry to use, and there will be huge improvements to how data is collected and classified, according to the action plan. 

Both of these initiatives are part of the government’s “future of mobility grand challenge”, which aims to transform transport infrastructure and travel in the UK over the next 10 years.

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