New technologies such as vehicle automation and smart infrastructure have huge potential to improve safety and reduce fuel consumption, but we must develop solutions to address the impact of such technologies on existing road infrastructure, to ensure road surfaces are fit for purpose in the future.

While it is essential to repair potholes to keep road users safe, they remain only a symptom of various underlying causes. Experts at TRL suggest that engineers and authorities must look at solving the causes of potholes, rather than treating the symptom.

Many factors can cause road surface deterioration, such as increasing numbers of vehicles on the road, rising consumer demand and the strain on the freight sector with the advent of online delivery services.

Well-engineered, regularly maintained road surfaces and the use of quality materials is the only way to defeat the notorious pothole. Strategies that focus on proper maintenance of road surfaces before they deteriorate would prevent a huge number of defects seen on our roads.

Indeed, maintaining the UK’s extensive road network is vital for the future of transport. We must adopt strong policies to maintain and strengthen the condition of the UK’s road network to ensure our roads are fit for purpose.

TRL is involved in many leading projects, including the development of cutting-edge new surface materials that will double the life expectancy of UK road surfaces. TRL is also involved in a new initiative called VOCAL Roads – a non-commercial group aiming to bring together stakeholders in the highways management community to optimise the collection and application of road condition data.