LONDON, Dec.14 (Xinhua) -- Cars on Britain's roads in the future could be programmed to spot potholes on motorways and automatically transmit the information to schedule repairs, a report from Highways England said Thursday.
The government-owned company has issued its vision of the future, saying an intelligent network coupled with connected vehicles would improve how efficiently Britain's roads are maintained. In another development, drones could also be used to fly above the country's network of motorways and major routes, and report back on incidents, improving response times.
Potholes have been estimated to be the cause of one-in-10 vehicle breakdowns on Britain's roads, costing motorists around 1 billion U.S. dollars a year.
In its Strategic Road Network Initial Report, Highways England says technology will play an increasingly major role in keeping people moving, and the country connected. The report will be used to inform the British government's next road investment strategy which begins in 2020.
Highways England is responsible for maintaining more than 7,000 kilometers of motorways and major strategic routes which are used by 4 million vehicles every day. Those vehicles travel a combined 150 billion kilometers every year.
Since 1993 the amount of traffic using motorways and strategic routes has increased by more than 50 percent and is expected to grow by more than 30 percent by 2041, says Highways England.
The new report warns that without investment in the strategic road network over the coming years, traffic congestion will increase and journey times will be longer. Average speeds on motorways and strategic routes are currently around 96.5 km/h, but this could drop to 88 km/h without new investment.
Highways England CEO Jim O'Sullivan, said: "We are delivering a record 15 billion pounds (20 billion U.S. dollars) of government investment to give people safe, efficient and reliable journeys, and provide businesses with the links they need to prosper and grow."
"We are setting out our high level aspirations which will help ensure the network continues to drive economic growth, jobs and prosperity, and keeps traffic moving today, and into the future,"said O'Sullivan
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "We are planning to spend more than ever before to upgrade England's motorways and major roads from 2020 through to 2025."
The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation Wednesday into the Highways England report, running until February 7.
The DfT said the results will be used to help develop the next Road Investment Strategy which the government is expected to publish in 2019.