HE 'going in the right direction', O’Sullivan says

 

Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan gave Transport Network an interview at Traffex this week and said he was very impressed with the event and confident about his company’s capital funding position.

‘I’m very pleased to see the amount of equipment on display, including at our own stand,’ he said.

‘I’m very pleased to see that a number of companies have brought the people that actually operate the equipment so they can talk about it with a level of expertise that we don’t normally get to see. There’s a huge amount of innovation on display and so we are finally embracing the information age and the technology age. So in the round I think it’s all very good.’

”Local
Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan

As for whether attending Traffex will prove a useful exercise for Highways England, he said: ‘I think it will, and I think it does so in a number of ways. The first is that it marks our presence in the industry, and the fact that we are here with predominantly members of our supply chain is huge.’

‘I think the opportunity to interact on our stand and talk to people – and indeed for our people to see other things that are going on in the industry that might not make their way to them through the process. I think that’s important.

He added: ‘I also think it’s demonstrating how hard we are working to become a listening organisation, and the opportunity for people to come to the stand, engage, and be introduced to the appropriate experts within Highways England on their subject matter.’

Asked how important the technological side of innovation is to Highways England, he replied: ‘Oh, it’s huge. Smart motorways are really just the first generation.

‘We talk about autonomous vehicles and I’m interested in connected vehicles. I want to get to the stage where when you choose your route on your satnav it tells us and we can work out real-time live traffic and manage the traffic effectively. Taking [the information] from the user and providing it to the user. So making it two way – information sharing.

‘If you go back ten years, we used to talk about turning data into information. Now we’ve got to turn information into intelligence. What are we going to do with it has become the question, rather than how do we get it.

‘So it’s huge. I think there’s an ongoing debate about how much road we need to build. We have a backlog of 10 to 20 years of road building and I think the answer to our capacity issues is not either/or. It’s not technology or road building. We actually need to do both.

‘I think our road users have become more information hungry. They want to know how long the delay is. They want to know how far it is to the next junction. We’ve started to provide some of that in as much as our current signs will let us. So we are keeping up with the technology changes.’

He added: ‘We are using ANPR. We are making extensive use of floating data. We are using a mixture of ANPR, used in that anonymous way – i.e. for journey time data – and floating data from mobile phones.

‘We are also using fleet specific telemetry [from hauliers].’

Smart motorways

”Local
A smart motorway section on the M62

On the recent controversy over all lane running schemes as part of smart motorways, he said: ‘I think argument over the need for smart motorways is long since won. That argument is over.

‘We are finding that the smart motorway safety is absolutely consistent with the broader motorway network. The engineering and the mathematics of the safety argument is incontrovertible. But we’ve got to get to a point where people accept that.’

A recent report from the National Audit Office (NAO) identified a funding shortfall of £800m for Highways England’s capital enhancement programme. On this, Mr O’Sullivan said: ‘I thought that the NAO report was objective, balanced and well-written.

You don’t have many CEOs of organisations saying that about the NAO. But it was.

‘The second thing is, in terms of the capital programme, we are confident that we will deliver the RIS. We are two years in. We set out to do what it says on the tin.

Two years in, we are doing what it says on the tin. I expect over the next three years to continue to do that.

‘The NAO report starts with – I think the number is – £1.6bn of upward pressure and it acknowledges that we’ve brought it to about £800m in the last 24 months. So we’re going in the right direction.’

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Career Grade Drainage Engineer

Swindon Borough Council
£19,092 to £40,680 p.a
Working in the asset management team, you’ll support the work of the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and Highways Authority. Swindon, Wiltshire
Recuriter: Swindon Borough Council

Assistant Director (Planning, Regeneration & Transport)

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
£87,791 per annum  
This is an exciting time to join Rotherham and make a real difference. We are looking for an outstanding Assistant Director who will bring... Rotherham, South Yorkshire
Recuriter: Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council

Highway Construction Project Manager

Brent Council
£50,442 - £53,526 p.a. inc.
We are looking for an accomplished highway construction project manager to support the delivery of two high priority highway schemes. Brent, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Traffic Signals & UTMC Manager

Bristol City Council
£42,683 - £45,591 (from 1st April onwards)
Looking for someone with proven management experience, enthusiasm, creativity, vision and good communication skills. City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Highways Estimator

Ringway
Competitive Salary
As the Highways Estimator you will join a busy environment and become an integral part of the team. Hounslow (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Ringway

Principal Highways Project Engineer

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
£34,106 - £35,229 per annum
The post holder will be responsible for project managing the delivery of two highway projects on the Key Route Network. Knowsley (Metropolitan borough), Merseyside
Recuriter: Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council

Traffic Schemes Officer

Oxfordshire County Council
£22,021 - £29,636 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to play a central role with the Traffic Team in the maintenance of the highway network... Kidlington, Oxfordshire
Recuriter: Oxfordshire County Council

Traffic Engineer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£29,055 to £30,756
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team! Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Assistant Engineer – Traffic Regulation

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,866 to £25,463
This is an exciting opportunity to join Telford & Wrekin Council’s Traffic Management Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Environment Officer

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£29,909 – £32,233 Grade 11 - £33,136 - £35,229
All Environment Officers lead, project manage and/or co-ordinate large environmental projects... Huddersfield, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Highways Quantity Surveyor

Leicester City Council
£30,756 - £33,136 pro-rata per annum
Working in the Highways Maintenance Group, you will be responsible for the operational highway maintenance activities Leicester, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Leicester City Council

Highways Engineer/Inspector

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22956 - £32637 per annum
Highways Engineer/Inspector - PermanentThere are plenty of reasons to take a closer look at Royal Greenwich.Royal Greenwich is undergoing a huge trans England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Senior Project Engineer

Derbyshire County Council
Grade 13 £39,867 - £43,282 per annum
Derbyshire County Council is looking for an enthusiastic, enterprising and experienced laboratory manager Derbyshire
Recuriter: Derbyshire County Council

Engineer - Bridges

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
We have a vacancy for a Structures Engineer working within the Bridge’s team! Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
You will be required to lead the delivery of a wide range of highway improvements and maintenance projects... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Highway Supervision Engineer x 2

Somerset County Council
£24,657 - £28,221 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to support the deliver high quality services. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Senior Development Infrastructure Officer

Somerset County Council
£29,055 - £33,136 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to deliver high quality services. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Development Infrastructure Officer

Somerset County Council
£33,136 - £37,107 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to deliver high quality services... Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Principal Highway Design Engineer

Somerset County Council
£33,136 - £37,107 per annum
You should be self-motivated, enthusiastic, confident, work well within a team environment and strive to deliver high quality services. Taunton, Somerset
Recuriter: Somerset County Council

Improvement and Asset Managers – Highways

North Yorkshire County Council
£42,683 to £45,591
We have exciting opportunities for Improvement and Asset Managers to join our highways service at North Yorkshire County Council. Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council