This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
(Original script, may differ from delivered version)
I’d like to thank Mark for those kind words of introduction.
It’s fantastic to see so many people here today (9 July 2014).
Britain has come through one of toughest periods for generations.
Now the British economy is back and firing on all cylinders.
Business confidence growing, jobs are being created at record rate and car sales are up 27 months on the trot.
Looking ahead our population is growing.
So we know one thing for sure to keep the economy moving, people and goods are going need to keep travelling.
More people, more drivers.
Not a surprise.
That’s obvious to every driver today.
But what hasn’t changed for decades is the government response.
Putting off investment, ignoring the problem.
That’s meant more congestion.
More unreliable journeys.
More time wasted stuck in traffic.
We simply cannot afford to continue this way
The road network is the backbone of Britain. 95% of people use it every day.
So it is vital to our economy.
Vital to all our lives.
Yet nothing’s really changed for years – we’ve just been managing decline.
But things are going to change.
We’re on the verge of a revolution in road travel.
So big will this change be that today we have little conception of what our roads will be like 30 years time.
But if we want an effective, reliable road network in the decades ahead, we must start preparing for change right now. And that means we have to meet 3 major challenges.
First, seizing potential of new technology.
Second, building better infrastructure.
And, third, reforming the way we maintain and pay for roads.
Let me take each in turn.
That technology is changing everything is said a lot.
But that doesn’t make it any less true.
And it can help us manage the increasing demands on our roads better.
Already some estimates suggest that the use of real time mapping on smart phones is saving 1 billion hours of travel time and 3.5 billion litres of fuel a year.
Better technology means we can use existing road space far more efficiently.
For example, we can safely use 4 lanes on the M1 instead of 3.
And we will build 240 mile long smart motorway corridor stretching from Cheshire to Kent.
Looking further ahead, intelligent transport systems, like the driverless cars being pioneered in Oxford and California where vehicles and infrastructure communicate automatically, have the potential to cut congestion, cut emissions and improve safety.
We are changing that and looking at how technology can drive the transform the everyday driving experience.
The road investment strategy won’t have all the answers.
But it will raise our ambitions and put us on a path to technology playing its full role in a transformation of the strategic road network.
The second challenge, is meeting people’s rising expectations, both for the quality of our infrastructure and the impact of construction on the environment.