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Department for Transport to allow for new ways of surveying road conditions

by Liam Turner
a man doing a land survey

The UK’s Department for Transportation (DfT) is set to introduce a new standard for surveying the condition of roads to end the virtual monopoly controlled by SCANNER.

DfT is aiming to bring in a new standard for road condition data and technology, which all local authorities will have to meet – but by using a method of their choosing.

While SCANNER (Surface Condition Assessment for the National Network of Roads) technology continues to be a “robust and valued” method for assessing surface conditions, according to the DfT, there is an increasing number of competing technologies that offer alternative to local authorities.

However, while DfT continues to mandate SCANNER, new developments are unable to enter the market.

Every year, local authorities are required to supply the Department for Transport with accurate and comparable data on the condition of local highways.

In a new position paper, the DfT said: “Local highway authorities will have flexibility to choose whichever surveying technology best supports their asset management strategy, providing the technology aligns to this new data standard.

“This will open the market, driving choice and technological innovation, while still ensuring that data will be sufficiently comparable for us to maintain a national view of the condition of the highways network.”

The Transport Select Committee’s October 2019 report, Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap, identified problems with, and obliged government to review the regime around, local road condition monitoring data.

To develop the new standard, an advisory board is to be set up later this year and a steering group in 2022.

A draft data standard will be completed by the end of 2022, ready for testing in 2023 and 2024.

Formal implementation will take place following the end of testing.

Image: wistechcolleges/Flickr

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