Research at Highways England

We publish our findings so that the public can see how research helps guide our policy and plans.

Our research priorities

Our 4-year Research Strategy sets the strategic direction of our 2-year Innovation Programme and ensures that we get value for money from our research investment.

We’ve identified 8 research priorities that will be used as strategic themes for our research:

  • managing the use of network capacity: how to more actively manage road capacity, maintain and improve performance levels against a backdrop of rising demand
  • health and safety: how to meet increasing expectations that road user and workforce safety is more actively managed while there are fewer possibilities for further physical safety improvements
  • managing ageing infrastructure: how to maintain an ageing infrastructure more cost-effectively with a greater focus on whole life costs
  • minimising environmental impact: increasing requirements to limit environmental impacts and make sustainable use of resources
  • information and data: increasing demand for and accessibility to better real-time traffic and travel information and greater use of mobile services
  • technologies: increasing pace of change in vehicle technology and increasing connectivity and integration of vehicles with infrastructure
  • delivery: how to safely and efficiently deliver the huge step in roads investment without comprising value for money
  • meeting changing customer expectations

Our research publications

Highways England publishes research and analysis publications, searchable by keyword.

Post-opening project evaluation (POPE)

Following the opening of a road scheme, we undertake an evaluation to see whether it has had the benefits and impact predicted. Evaluation focuses on issues relevant to the individual scheme and published key objectives.

This process allows lessons to be learnt about the effectiveness of the appraisal processes and leads to better decision making.

When planning to construct a scheme, the set Department for Transport webTAG objectives must be taken into account, so these are also considered during evaluation.

The evaluation is undertaken on Highways England’s major schemes and local network management schemes (LNMS). These are categorised according to how much they cost to implement:

  • major schemes cost over £10 million to implement
  • large LNMS cost between £1 million and £10 million to implement
  • small LNMS cost between £25,000 and £1 million to implement

POPE of major schemes

We produce:

  • a ‘1 year after’ and ‘5 year after’ report for each scheme - some impacts such as environmental impact and accident trends can take some time to become apparent
  • an independent ‘meta report’ is published at 2 year intervals, taking an overview of all the evaluations to date
  • a scheme evaluation table that shows the appraisal (predicted impact before construction) and evaluation (recalculated impact after opening) figures for all open schemes. This sets out figures for carbon emissions, traffic levels and accidents

POPE of local network management schemes

We produce:

  • large LNMS Reports, which contain the detailed results for each large LNMS
  • a map of evaluated large LNMS schemes
  • mini-reports for each small LNMS
  • an annual evaluation report, which contains the results of a meta-analysis of all scheme evaluations carried out so far, highlighting any interesting or emerging trends

Older reports are available on the National Archive website. New reports are published as part of our research and analysis publications.