Traffic Speed Condition Surveys (TRACS) were introduced on the trunk road network in England in 2000. Work was undertaken in 2003 to consider whether, in principle, the TRACS technology could be adapted for use on local authority roads ( TRACS TYPE SURVEYS FOR LOCAL ROADS). On the basis of the scoping study, Ministers agreed a £3.6 million programme to develop the technology. The implementation project was managed on behalf of the Roads Board by the Halcrow Group.

Local authorities in England commissioned the first TRACS Type Surveys (TTS) on local roads in 2004/05, covering their principal (A) roads. The results from TTS surveys were reported as BV(96) in 2005.Following the first round of research completed during 2004, a revised specification was introduced under the name of SCANNER (Surface Condition Assessment for the National Network of Roads).

The introduction of SCANNER technology on local authority roads was overseen by the SCANNER Implementation Group, on behalf of the Roads Board. The new specification expanded the application of traffic speed carriageway condition surveys to include all road types and surveys covering B and C class roads in England commenced in 2005/06. Details of the research programme undertaken to adapt the technology for use on local roads are here.

With the introduction of the new specification, SCANNER surveys became mandatory for the assessment of the classified road network. Advice for local authorities on procuring SCANNER surveys is here.

The results from SCANNER surveys were originally reported as BV223 (principal roads) and BV224a (non-principal classified roads), then from 2008/09 as National Indicators NI168 (A roads) and NI169 (other classified roads). As of 2011 the National Indicator set was abolished and replaced by the Single Data List where the former National Indicators 168 and 169 are listed as 130-01 and 130-02 respectively.

SCANNER surveys are carried out by commercial survey companies, using equipment which has passed an acceptance test and has an accreditation certificate. Details of the acceptance testing and accreditation process are here. The surveys are also carried out under a quality assurance and audit regime. Details of the quality assurance and audit regime are here.

National Road Maintenance Condition Survey

The National Road Maintenance Condition Survey (NRMCS) provides a consistent time series of road condition in England and Wales dating from 1977. The development of SCANNER automated condition surveys requires enhancements to the NRMCS software and methodologies. This will provide the Department for Transport with the wherewithal to continue publication of NRMCS using new data sources. The research will produce revised software and methodologies for calculating the NRMCS.  Further information on Road condition and Maintenance data can be found here.

The Department for Transport publishes an annual survey of the condition of public roads, footways, kerbs and verges in England and Wales. Results are derived from surveys of surface condition and structural condition which are collectively referred to as the National Road Maintenance Condition Survey (NRMCS). The latest Road conditions in England report and data (2019) can be found here.

A similar survey exists for Scotland (the Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey).

The UK Roads Board advises on the conduct of the surveys, with a view to providing a firm national statistical basis for monitoring road condition and maintenance needs in England and Wales. Publication of the NRMCS annual report is overseen by the Roads Performance Management Group, which reports to the UK Roads Board.

NRMCS surveys are currently conducted using visual surveys of the carriageway, together with Deflectograph surveys of structural condition. With the development of SCANNER automated condition surveys [14], opportunities exist for developing the NRMCS to use SCANNER data.