Highways Agency

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Highways Agency
Highways Agency.svg
Executive agency overview
Formed 30 March 1994 (1994-03-30)
Employees 3,400 (2012-13)[1]
Parent department Department for Transport
Website www.highways.gov.uk

The Highways Agency is an executive agency, part of the Department for Transport in England. It has responsibility for managing the core road network in England. It operates a variety of information services, liaises with other government agencies as well as providing staff to deal with incidents on their roads.

Following the announcement made on 27 June 2013 by Danny Alexander, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the Highways Agency will become a publicly owned corporation.[2] The change will take place in April 2015, after which it will be renamed Highways England.[3]


The agency was created on 30 March 1994.[4] The current Chief Executive, Graham Dalton, took up his post on 30 June 2008.[5] Prior to joining the agency he was a director at the Department for Transport, responsible for the delivery of major rail investment projects including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Thameslink. He replaced the previous Chief Executive, Archie Robertson.[6]

The strategic road network[edit]

The Agency is responsible for the operation, maintenance and improvement of the strategic road network in England which consists of most motorways and significant trunk A roads.[7] It has a length of approximately 4,300 miles (6,920 km),[8] which accounts for 34% of all road travel and 67% of lorry freight travel.[9] In total, approximately four million vehicles use the network every day.[10] Most lower grade roads are the responsibility of local authorities.

The Agency is also responsible for the maintenance of 9,000 bridges, 9,000 other structures and 34,000 drainage assets along the network.[11]

The network has been valued by the Agency as having an estimated asset value of £108 billion.[10] The Agency will be responsible for delivering significant investment in the network, with £1.7 billion and £1.9 billion invested in 2013/14 and 2014/15, respectively.[12]

Operational areas[edit]

The Highways Agency's operations are split into six regions[13] that are roughly based on the regions of England. These regions are subdivided into 13 operational areas.[14] These areas are managed and maintained by an Area team and a contractor, known as a Managing Agent (MA) or Managing Agent Contractor (MAC). In addition, there are a number of sections of road that are managed by DBFO contracts separate from the area teams.[14]

HA Region Operational area Counties covered (whole & partial) Roads managed
South West Area 1[15] Cornwall, Devon A30, A35, A38
Area 2[16] Bristol, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire M4, M5, A36, A40, A303, A4
London & South East Area 3[17] Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Hampshire, Surrey, Oxfordshire M27, M271, M275, M3, M4, M40, A3, A3(M), A27, A31, A34, A303, A404, A404(M), A308(M)
Area 4[18] Kent, Surrey, East Sussex, West Sussex M2, M20, M23, A2, A20, A21, A23, A26, A27, A259, A2070
Area 5 (DBFO)[19] M25 Area: Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey M25, M1, M4, M10, M11, M20, M26, A1, A3, A13, A30, A282, A1089
East Area 6[20] Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk, Suffolk M11, A11, A12, A14, A47, A120
Area 8[21] Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Northamptonshire M1, M11, M40, M45, A1, A5, A11, A14, A43, A45, A421, A428
Midlands Area 7[22] Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire M1, M6, M45, A1, A5, A14, A38, A42, A43, A45, A46, A50, A52, A421
Area 9[23] Gloucestershire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands, Worcester M5, M6, M40, M42, M50, M54, A5, A40, A46, A49, A435, A449, A456, A458, A465, A6, A483,
North West Area 10[24] Cheshire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire M6, M53, M56, M57, M58, M60, M61, M62, M66, M67, M602, A41, A55, A56, A483, A550, A556, A570, A663, A5036
Area 13[25] Cumbria, Lancashire M6, M55, A65, A66, A69, A74(M), A585, A590, A595
North East Area 12[26] Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Greater Manchester M1, M18, M62, M180, M181, M606, M621, A1, A19, A57, A61, A63, A64, A160, A168, A180, A616, A628, A1033
Area 14[27] Durham, Northumberland, North Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear A1, A19, A66, A69, A268, A174, A696, A1033


National Traffic Information Service (NTIS)[edit]

Network Information Services (NIS) a Mouchel and Thales joint venture operates the National Traffic Information Service on behalf of the Highways Agency. NTIS is the information hub of the English strategic road network.[28]

The £57 million service is based at Quinton, Birmingham and is responsible for providing accurate, historical, real-time and predictive traffic and incident information to businesses, the traveling public and Highways Agency operations.[28] It collects real-time traffic information from over 10,000 fixed sites on the Motorway and All Purpose Trunk Road Network from MIDAS and Traffic Monitoring Unit (TMU) electronic loops in the road surface and Automatic Number Plate Recognition(ANPR) cameras at the roadside. Additionally it uses anonymous Floating Vehicle Traffic Data (FVD) from vehicles to supplement the fixed traffic monitoring sites. NTIS also has access to nearly 2000 CCTV cameras,[29] 300 weather stations, 4600 roadside electronic signs, 16,000 roadside electronic matrix signals and incident data from over 250 operational partners including the police and local authorities.[30]

It then processes this data to create useful intelligence for operational decision making and dissemination of current and predictive information to the public using the 4,600 roadside variable-message signs,[31] the Highways Agency website[32] (including a mobile version), social media channels such as Twitter and the telephone based Highways Agency Information Line (HAIL)[33] as well as distributing information to the media and business through a number of data feeds[29][34] These feeds are widely used by organisations such as the BBC and local newspaper websites for their own traffic information. Services such as Google Maps and sat nav operators also make use of the Highways Agency data for their traffic information.

Area teams[edit]

The motorway network is divided into "Areas". They are contracts that are awarded by the Department for Transport. The Area Teams work alongside the Highways Agency Traffic Officer Service – providing incident support, emergency traffic management and infrastructure maintenance. They are responsible for the management and operation of the roads in their area.[35] In 2009, fleet tracking has been deployed to assist area teams to manage their specialist winter maintenance vehicles during the Cold Snap.[36]

Traffic Officer & Regional Control Centres[edit]

Click here for more information on the Highways Agency Traffic Officer service.


The Highways Agency employs uniformed Traffic Officers; on-road and control room, as well as specialist staff for work in engineering, surveying, accountancy, and administration. There is a graduate entry scheme, with general entry and specialist engineering entry options.[37] For the Traffic Officer Service each team is supervised by a Team Manager, one of between six and eight such managers generally working together, to ensure 24-hour management cover.

The Highways Agency have a Sports and Social Club that have had limited success in sporting competitions. However in 2012 the Birmingham office football team won the Civil Service-wide football 6-a-side competition, and in 2013 the Birmingham office won the Civil Service-wide 4x100 Mixed Relay competition. In 2014 they won the 4x100 Ladies Relay competition but were not awarded a trophy.

Traffic England[edit]

Traffic England is a website[38] that gives information about the latest traffic conditions as well as details of any roadworks or events that may cause congestion.[39] By selecting current motorway information you can see the average speed between individual motorway junctions, what is being displayed on all the variable-message signs, and images from traffic cameras.[39] The website is run by the HIghways Agency's National Traffic Information Service.

Survive Group[edit]

The Survive Group is a partnership between the Highways Agency, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), the breakdown/recovery industry and other road service providers. The Survive Group has been established to improve the safety of those who work on the road network and the travelling public and is also dedicated to the promotion of driving safety. The name Survive comes from Safe Use of Roadside Verges in Vehicular Emergencies.

The Survive Group website holds information on the Survive Group membership details and activities being undertaken by the working groups. It also supplies advice on how to drive safely in a wide range of driving conditions, advice on planning journeys. Survive also provides publications and new guidance produced by the Survive members plus news on new initiatives and forthcoming road safety events.[40]

Historical Railways Estate[edit]

In 2013, the HA took over responsibility for the Historical Railways Estate from BRB (Residuary) Limited.[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ PAGE 11 "HIghways Agency Annual report". 
  2. ^ "investing in Britains future". 
  3. ^ "Newly-named Highways England to save £1.2bn". 
  4. ^ "Hansard, Vol 240 Col 929". 1994-03-30. Retrieved 2008-06-05. My target was to complete the review in time for it to provide the basis for the new Highways Agency, which is being launched today. 
  5. ^ http://www.highways.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/our-board/
  6. ^ "Appointment of Highways Agency Chief Executive" (Press release). Government News Network. 2008-06-12. Retrieved 2008-07-08. 
  7. ^ "The Traffic Control Centre Project". The Highways Agency's Traffic Control Centre Project. Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  8. ^ "Highways Agency Business Plan 2013-14". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2013-04-16. 
  9. ^ "Trunk Road Proposals and Your Home". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2007-11-18. 
  10. ^ a b PAGE 4 "Highways Agency business plan 2013-2014". 
  11. ^ PAGE 11 "Highways Agency annual report". 
  12. ^ PAGE 17 "Highways Agency business plan 2013-2014". 
  13. ^ "HIghways Agency Network management map". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  14. ^ a b "Highways Agency Network management maps". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-07-16. 
  15. ^ "Area 1 - South West England". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  16. ^ "Area 2 Bristol/Gloucestershire/M5". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  17. ^ "Area 3 Berks/Bucks/Hants". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  18. ^ "Area 4 Kent/Sussex/M2 etc". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  19. ^ "Area 5 M25 ring around London". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  20. ^ "Area 6 Cambs/M11 corridor". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  21. ^ "Area 8 Northants/ M1 corridor etc". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  22. ^ "Area 7 Derbyshire/Leicestershire/Notts". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  23. ^ "Area 9 Staffordshire / Warwickshire/ West Midlands". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  24. ^ "Area 10 Cheshire/Merseyside/Manchester". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  25. ^ "Area 13 Cumbria/Lancs". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  26. ^ "Area 12 Lincolnshire/Yorkshire". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  27. ^ "Area 14 Durham/North Yorkshire/Tyne and Wear". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2009-05-14. 
  28. ^ a b Highways Agency – National Traffic Information Service
  29. ^ a b "Overview". National Traffic Information Service. Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  30. ^ Highways Agency – National Traffic Information Service
  31. ^ "Festive test for transport network". BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation). 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  32. ^ http://www.highways.gov.uk
  33. ^ "Better Information" (PDF). Highways Agency. May 2004. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  34. ^ "Services to be Delivered". The Highways Agency's Traffic Control Centre Project. Highways Agency. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  35. ^ Highways Agency – How We Manage Our Roads
  36. ^ Vehicle tracking assists road safety during cold snap
  37. ^ Career information and graduate scheme details here.
  38. ^ "Traffic England". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  39. ^ a b "Traffic England: Real-time traffic information". Highways Agency. Retrieved 2013-07-16. 
  40. ^ http://www.survivegroup.org
  41. ^ https://www.gov.uk/government/news/brb-residuary-ltd-has-been-abolished

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]