M6 toll Birmingham at night; M6 toll Birmingham at night;


Arup helps clients plan, produce and predict the shape of the world’s highways – from initial investment advice, to design and research into new mobility systems.

Arup helps clients plan, produce and predict the shape of the world’s highways – from initial investment advice, to design and research into new mobility systems.

The planning journey

Roads have been central to economic and social development for hundreds of years. But across the world today, road operators and decision makers face many evolving challenges: increasing driver numbers, constrained budgets, asset resilience, road user safety and customers’ service expectations.

Highways are major investments and many clients come to Arup for our ability to judge financial risks, environmental impacts and overall viability. Our breadth of expertise in procurement and financing makes us the perfect partner for public or private organisations planning new road schemes or programmes. Our experience in related infrastructure, like bridges, tunnels and city planning, means we bring detailed and valuable insights to every project. In a full advisory and design role, we helped the Canadian government with the business case and supporting technical advice to start the New Champlain Bridge corridor project. We also undertake master planning at national road network level. By looking at changes in traffic demand and road users’ behaviour, we help clients develop strategies which are customer-focused, appropriate to their aspirations for level of service and within the boundaries of their budget.

A470 stretch of road A470 stretch of road

The design journey

Arup has pioneered highway design for over 40 years. We design safe highways, bridges and interchanges that make sense in their surrounding context, finding new ways to cut travel times, improve road capacity, and represent the most sustainable use of materials. We’re trusted with the design and operation of some of the most significant highway and complex infrastructure projects in the world, like the Queensferry Crossing in Scotland, or the Presidio Parkway in San Francisco, USA.

Arup’s team combines depth of technical knowledge along with the latest technology and digital engineering techniques to visualise, control and streamline the highway design process, something we demonstrated on the Woolgoolga to Ballina Pacific Highway. We also use our own in-house SoundLab modelling suite to test the sonic impact of design ideas and build confidence in a proposed solution.

We support clients throughout the planning, design and construction journey, continuing to work after the highway goes into use. Arup’s end-to-end service allows us to plan a highway’s operation and maintenance, focusing on its performance, whole life costs and rehabilitation.

Watch the video to discover more about our work on the Pacific Highway
To view this video, you must enable cookies.

Shaping future journeys

In the 21st century transport has become an innovation driven sector and clients need a partner who can help them chart a path forward. Our teams work with clients to provide specialist technical advice in response to the current-day challenges impacting on infrastructure performance; from managing a programme for ageing assets to socio-economic scenario testing to enable long-term, strategic planning.

Around the world, we are helping national road operators plan for connected and autonomous vehicles on their networks by advising on key investment decisions, transitional challenges and trialling new technologies. In the UK, Arup is leading the UK Autodrive consortium which is evaluating the complex implementation issues and business models presented by autonomous vehicles. We work with governments to develop future scenarios to help improve planning decisions and supported Highways England as they developed their first innovation, technology and research strategy identifying projects and trials to improve safety and tackle congestion on the UK’s roads.

Climate change represents another evolving threat to future journeys. In Queensland, Australia, Arup played a key role in helping rethink and rebuild the region’s roads after damaging floods and cyclones. We also achieved rapid rehabilitation of critical failing road infrastructure, like the Boston Manor viaduct in the UK. As alternative forms of energy influence our industry and electric vehicles become more prevalent, Arup’s transport and energy teams are providing specialist technical and financial advice related to the electric infrastructure which is required to support a major change in the automotive powertrain.

Rethinking mobility

A shift towards a more digital society and the advent of new vehicle ownership models are just two trends affecting how highway investments need to be evaluated. As our cities have developed and grown, transport connections have become more complex. Today, smartphone apps identify the smartest way through the traffic, providing new opportunities for mixing modes of transport and influencing new commuter behaviours.

Read more about Arup’s pioneering approach to intelligent mobility in the 21st century.


Meet our people