8 August 2023 | Collaboration | Our Work

Chair of Streetwise sets out plans for future of group

David Denner, the Chair of Streetwise, talks to LCRIG Content Director Alec Peachey about the group’s plans and the importance of collaboration.   

The Chair of Streetwise – a partnership between England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic – has set out plans for the future of the group.

The group is called Streetwise as an acronym for Seamless TRavel Environment for Efficient Transport in the Western ISles of Europe.

All parts of the UK, devolved administrations and road authorities including southern Ireland are members who discuss everything related to Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS).

Members recently met at the LCRIG Innovation Festival to set out plans for the group. The Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) act as the secretariat for the group, which has links with both the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport Technology Forum (TTF).

David Denner, who is Chair of the group and Highways Technology Manager at the Welsh Government, said: ‘’The key things for Streetwise moving forward are communication and collaboration. We must continue to share best practice, case studies, and work with the supply chain.’’

From analysis of the current effects and estimates of the potential of ITS, the following objectives of the StreetWise Group have been established with plans further formulated at the recent meeting:

  • Traffic safety improvement;
  • Traffic flow/reduction of congestions;
  • Better environment.Key objectives of StreetWise are:
  • An integrated approach to major road network management;
  • Focus on the deployment of (common) seamless services, linked to Europe;
  • Review of European Studies;
  • Enhance the evaluation of activities and exchange of best practices;
  • Optimal integration of UK Road Operators;
  • An integrated approach to SRN operation, fostering co-operation between infrastructure and the vehicle, with the involvement of the private sector;
  • Upgrade urban interfaces and support co-modality.

Mr Denner added: ‘’In essence, Streetwise is a collaboration between the devolved administrations and the road operators in the UK. It’s a collaboration of administrations on sharing the vision and the policies and the practices on anything technology related.’’

With some technologies and systems shared across each of the devolved governments, Mr Denner says it is vital that this collaboration is formalised.

‘’We’ve been able to help each other out. We have common suppliers. So, for example Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have the same motorway control system supplier. So, we are able to share problems. We can also share budgets and development costs. This is about, with dwindling budgets, being able to do more for less. But we can only do that if we join together. So rather than each of us being siloed, what’s key is us being able to share best practice and knowledge.’’

Earlier this year the Welsh Government scrapped some of its biggest road building schemes and released details of its Roads Review.

Mr Denner said: ‘’Looking at the Welsh Transport Strategy and the direction of travel in Wales, the car has been held up in great esteem over the last 100 years and the roads have been built to put the cars on and then the roads get filled up. So, you end up building more roads to put more cars on.

‘’Active travel is key, along with road space reallocation and getting people out of the car, getting them onto public transport, getting them out on bikes or E -scooters, you know, getting people fitter rather than fatter. There’s a big push to make sure the car is not the only travel option of choice because it’s too convenient.

‘’We’ve got to change the mindset because we can’t keep going with generation after generation of people having this love affair with the car. And it is doable because during lockdown car usage dropped off a cliff and people were selling their second cars. People were doing things differently and of course now many more people are working from home.’’

Looking forward, Mr Denner feels positive about the future of Streetwise: ‘’I think when I was having discussions with the Department for Transport and the Transport Technology Forum (TTF), we recognised that Streetwise just seemed to have a natural home linking in there. And it really grew from that with LCRIG now acting as the secretariat for the group and pulling us all together. There’s a lot of innovations that are happening on the local roads, but they can be beneficial on the strategic road network as well. Or vice versa. We can get things done.

‘’I’m calling it Streetwise version 2 where we move now into this new home of the TTF and LCRIG and working with all these partner authorities can only be a good thing to help make the road user experience much better.’’

Featured image source: ARTSM