Devon County Council will be using a commercial running and cycling app to help prioritise roads investment, after approving an increase in highway spending of over 50% for this year.
The council’s cabinet has approved spending an additional £27m on Devon’s roads for this year, making the current year's allocation the largest ever annual investment in Devon’s road network.
To help focus the extra spending, the council said it would use Strava - a popular GPS cycling and running app, which lets you track your active travel journeys - to inform investment.
A spokesman told Transport Network: 'We tend to prioritise funding towards the A-road network because that carries most traffic, and that’s in relatively good condition in Devon. However, with the additional funding made available, we have an opportunity to rebalance this approach and direct more money towards the lower category roads which we know are often well used by leisure and commuting cyclists.
'We wanted to see which routes are popular with cyclists, so we are looking at the publicly available ‘heat map’ produced by Strava alongside other data, to help with our investment decisions.'
The council said that smaller roads, such as ‘C’ and unclassified roads, will receive 'the majority of the available funding, with a focus on improving the condition and resilience of high-usage local route networks'.
Bridges and structures and main roads will receive the remaining share, concentrating specifically on structural repairs and making Devon’s highways safer.
Cllr Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, said: 'The announcement of additional highway maintenance funding is great news for Devon. It will be integral to providing appropriate long-term repairs to Devon’s road network and the safety of our highways.
'All parts of Devon benefit as a result of this funding. Devon’s Covid-19 recovery has also introduced different challenges and new considerations for the improvement of Devon’s highways and the funding will be invaluable in enabling high-usage routes to be safe, properly maintained, and appropriate for active travel, like walking or cycling.'
The bulk of the extra funding comes from the Government’s Potholes Fund.
In addition, Devon was awarded another £5m from the Department of Transport in support of the Teign Viaduct to Ashcombe Cross major maintenance scheme.
The scheme is around six miles long and includes a maintenance programme to upgrade an important section of the A380. The upgrade includes resurfacing, drainage, bridge maintenance and structural repairs.