The UK government has announced that hundreds of millions of pounds will be invested into the country’s transport infrastructure to help tackle congestion and support the development of new technology.
This was among the spending plans outlined by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond in his Autumn Statement address on November 23rd. He noted that “reliable transport networks are essential to growth and productivity”.
Among the investment confirmed, a total of £1.1 billion will be spent on upgrading existing local roads and public transport solutions up and down the country in order to reduce congestion and boost the efficiency of the network.
A further £220 million will be dedicated to improving congestion and addressing pinch points on the UK’s main traffic arteries managed by Highways England.
There will also be £27 million dedicated to the construction of a new expressway that will connect Oxford and Cambridge. This follows a study from the Department for Transport earlier this year that recommended such a link in order to boost productivity and economic output along the so-called ‘brain belt’ between the two university cities.
The report observed that the ‘knowledge economy’ relies on people with specific skills being able to work in close proximity to one another, which is difficult to achieve if transport links are poor.
It is not only road infrastructure that is set to benefit from investment. The chancellor also unveiled funding of £450 million in order to trial digital signalling technology on the country’s rail network. This is intended to increase capacity and improve reliability.
A further £390 million will go towards the development of future transport technologies, including £100 million for testing infrastructure for driverless cars.
Mr Hammond said in his speech: “This Autumn Statement commits significant additional funding to help keep Britain moving now, and to invest in the transport networks and vehicles of the future.”