Roads Minister: Time to share ideas

Roads Minister Andrew Jones has called on local authorities to share ideas and learn from one another when it comes to adopting asset management.  

Speaking at the Technical Advisors Group Conference earlier this week, Mr Jones said: “I know that of the 150-plus highway authorities in this country, many are doing very similar things in different ways, rather than pooling knowledge and expertise for common gain.

“The real, challenge, of course, is how to do this in an era of devolution. It would be easy for the government to tell local authorities what to do. But that wouldn’t stimulate innovation and the sharing of good ideas.

“So we want to leave the field open for highway authorities to take the initiative, to share ideas, and to learn from one another.”

The Minister also highlighted the use of technology as a way of supporting highway maintenance.

He added: “Right across the transport sector, new technology and ways of working are transforming how we get things done.

“It’s a great opportunity for highways maintenance. For example, technology can help us collect information about our assets, to ensure better decision making, to understand more about the materials we use and whole-life costs. This is the right time for us all to shift our thinking as a sector.”

You can read the Minister’s speech in full here.

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There was a time when the equivalent of today’s DfT set the standards for highways design, construction and maintenance and provided the forum for local authorities to do precisely this – to share expertise. However, it would seem that the DfT has neither the expertise, experience or the will for leadership to act in this way. Can I suggest that if local authorities do set up their own methods and platforms for communicating and sharing this expertise (they already have one, it’s called ADEPT) then the DfT could be would up resulting a huge saving on Government expenditure.