The Department for Transport’s (DfT) stated aim is a transport system which balances the needs of the economy, the environment and society.

The DfT spent around £223 million on IT in the period 2005/06. Some of its biggest spenders were the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (£130m) the Highways Agency (£29m) and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (£10m).

Costs covered operational and new systems development. Online interaction with the UK’s 39 million drivers, who drive 32 million vehicles, and 100,000 commercial vehicle operators have been the agency’s most public projects.

Online renewal of vehicle licenses, provisional driving license application and driving test booking have speeded up transactions considerably and were received well by the public.

Although the project was late, 19,000 vehicle MOT testing centres have now been computerised. The DfT now claims over 60 per cent of all transactions with commercial operators are carried out online.

Developing web services such as Transport Direct, its £16m journey planner website, has also been a major priority. The DfT says the site which offers real-time travel information is accessed over 11 million times per year.

The Highways Agency is trailing interactive traffic information points at 24 motorway service stations and says they are being used by 60,000 people per month.