National Highways

Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator

Applications closed

Apply to the National Highways Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator and receive up to £90K to push the boundaries of your technology.

The National Highways Hazard Protection on Roads Accelerator is a programme delivered by Connected Places Catapult that aims to stimulate innovation around the challenge of further helping to protect road users in England from hazards. This accelerator programme invites SMEs to address this challenge through the development of innovative solutions. For this accelerator, we see hazards as any circumstance on roads that drivers may not have anticipated and will need to react to.

This programme will be run in two stages. In stage one, up to 10 SMEs will be selected to work with National Highways, Connected Places Catapult and Tier 1 suppliers to design trials that address one of the programme challenges, over a 3-month period. The SMEs can be awarded up to £15K – £30K of funding during this phase to cover their costs. Following a down selection, approximately 5 SMEs will be awarded up to £60K in stage two to deliver their trials over a 5-month period.

Alongside the trialling of their solutions, the SMEs will be guided through a bespoke programme tailored to their requirements, which could include procurement readiness, product development support and business modelling coaching. These activities will be co-designed with each SME to support them in growing their businesses and adapting their propositions to National Highways’ requirements.

Application Support Webinar

We hosted an application support webinar on 21 November. Covering the background to the programme, the challenges it is aiming to address, how the programme will benefit SMEs, guidance on how to apply and information on the application process.

Key Dates

1: Gathering data about hazards on roads

This challenge includes all technologies outside of National Highways existing radar solutions which contribute to identifying and gathering data on hazards on roads. The goal is to layer several detection technologies together to increase the overall performance of the system. Example solution areas could include CCTV data analytics, satellite data and in-car data (including GPS, vehicle sensors, driver-reported data etc.).

2: Streamlining hazard responses

This challenge aims to streamline and accelerate the best response to a hazard, including automatically notifying drivers, automated responses to and clean-up of hazards, and notification of appropriate professionals (e.g., traffic officers) when needed. The ultimate goal is to develop an end-to-end system optimised to respond quickly and accurately to hazards being addressed through this programme.

3: Improving driver notification of hazards

This challenge aims to improve the notification of drivers once a hazard is identified or to ensure that road users are made aware of its presence and how to respond to it (including if they are distracted, for example). The goal is to ensure that both planned and unplanned hazards are easy to understand and safely navigate around for road users.

4: Improving testing of hazard detection technology

The goal of this challenge is to quickly, cost effectively and accurately assess the performance of any hazard detection technology. This may take place in a real or simulated environment (e.g. a game engine) and may contribute to assessing the real-world performance of the technology, de-risking rolling out software updates, and making credible performance data available to those who need it. Another area of focus for this challenge is to generate datasets on hazard detection performance which could later be used for AI/ML applications.

5: Influencing drivers to reduce unsafe behaviour

The goal of this challenge is to reduce unsafe behaviour from drivers as much as is feasible by encouraging safe, legal driving. Although the majority of drivers comply with the law and drive safely, there are still some drivers who act unsafely, for example holding and using mobile phones. The goal is to identify and accelerate any innovations which could reduce this or other types of unsafe behaviour.

What’s on offer to SMEs?

Funding Opportunities

The opportunity to access up to £90K funding for the testing and trialling of live demonstrations

Coaching and Mentoring

Including pitch coaching, business support and fundraising support

Business Development

Business development opportunities with National Highways and their Tier 1 subcontractors.

Technical Support

Access to technical experts to support you in your trial design and delivery

Procurement Support

Tailored procurement readiness programme

Solution Showcase

Demonstration Day to investors, industry and potential customers

Am I eligible for this programme?

At the point of application:

  • You must be a micro or small to medium sized enterprise (< 250 employees)
  • You must be a UK registered company*
  • Your innovative solution will preferably be at least TRL 6
  • You must be able to address one or more challenge statements with your solution
  • You must be willing to complete a development, testing or demonstration of your solution in a real or relevant environment
  • You must be willing to travel on occasion to face-to-face meetings and events

*This is a requirement to unlock trial funding

How to apply

Applications closed midnight 31 December 2023.

Supporting Documents

Grant Terms and ConditionsApplication GuidanceProgramme ScopeApplication Questions

Point of contact

If you have any questions about the programme and application, please contact:

Natasha Giroux, Accelerator Programme Manager, Connected Places Catapult,