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Preparing the Strategic Road Network for electric vehicles

Publication Details

Exec­u­tive Summary

Vehi­cle tech­nolo­gies are advanc­ing at an ever increas­ing rate, dri­ven by inter­na­tional reg­u­la­tions and con­sumer demand for more effi­cient vehi­cles. As tech­nol­ogy devel­ops, ultra-low emis­sion vehi­cles (ULEVs), includ­ing pure elec­tric vehi­cles, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell elec­tric vehi­cles, will play an increas­ing role in the way we travel. These vehi­cles are already com­ing to the mar­ket in sig­nif­i­cant num­bers, and in the com­ing years will become a com­mon sight in our towns and cities and on the strate­gic road network.

The gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing the growth in the mar­ket for ULEVs. The Office for Low Emis­sion Vehi­cles are pro­vid­ing over £900 mil­lion between 2010 and 2020 to posi­tion the UK at the global fore­front of ULEV devel­op­ment, man­u­fac­ture and use. This invest­ment will build the right con­di­tions to estab­lish a sta­ble and grow­ing mar­ket for ULEVs in the UK, and allow for mass-adoption in the decades ahead.

The increas­ing use of these vehi­cles pro­vides a num­ber of sig­nif­i­cant oppor­tu­ni­ties for the UK. An effi­cient and effec­tive trans­port sys­tem is vital to the UK’s eco­nomic well­be­ing and road trans­port remains the dom­i­nant trans­port mode in the UK. How­ever, traf­fic and new road capac­ity can bring con­cerns over air qual­ity and noise. The grow­ing num­bers of ULEVs on our roads there­fore have a very impor­tant role to play in sup­port­ing mobil­ity while reduc­ing the impacts of road trans­port. A rapid uptake in these vehi­cles can also help to attract a new gen­er­a­tion of invest­ment into the UK’s car indus­try and sup­ply chains, help­ing eco­nomic growth, which the High­ways Agency is com­mit­ted to support.

The Action for Roads com­mand paper, pub­lished in July 2013, iden­ti­fied the impor­tance of man­ag­ing the road net­work over the com­ing years to pre­pare for ULEVs. To sup­port this, the High­ways Agency is going to inves­ti­gate how it can respond to this shift in the types of vehi­cles that use the strate­gic road net­work, and what direc­tion it should take.

The Agency has a com­mit­ment to min­imise the impact the strate­gic road net­work has on com­mu­ni­ties that live by it. By sup­port­ing the growth of elec­tric vehi­cles using our net­work we aim to reduce noise, car­bon emis­sions, and improve air quality.