Live data and information monitoring could rid local roads of potholes, an engineer has said, after it was revealed that the damage they cause costs drivers and insurers £1M every month.

Better connected asset management software to inspect road conditions and an improved understanding of how to use data to monitor damage could help tackle the problem, an expert has said.

Yotta infrastructure asset management head of consultancy Chris Dyer said: “With advancements in technology the ability to obtain good data about both inventory and road condition is becoming increasingly better. Video cameras attached to bin lorries to monitor road conditions is really only the beginning.

“The important thing to know is what you are going to do with that data once you have collected it, so potholes can be managed effectively.

“Connected asset management software allows local authorities to collect and manage data from infrastructure through a series of sensors and connected through the internet.

“The ability to interact with your road network collecting live data and information is the future of roads management.”

The Local Government Association called for increased road funding in response to the figures, which were released by the AA. Transport spokesman Councillor Martin Tetter said: “Only long-term consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed.

“Spending 52 times more on maintaining our national roads when very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.”

In March transport secretary Chris Grayling announced a £100M local authority pothole repair fund for roads that were badly affected by winter weather. The funding came a week after the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey found that local authoritieswill need an extra £3.3M each, and 14 years, to get the roads they manage back to a reasonable state.

A report by the National Audit Office says that council spending on highways and transport has fallen by almost 40% over the last six years.

“With the strategic road network receiving the lion share of funding compared to local roads, there needs to be a review of how funding is determined.  Funding should be allocated based on performance required across all categories of road and not split between motorways and local roads,” Dyer added.

By Jess Clark

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