Travel any distance on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads at the moment and you won’t fail to spot a number of improvement schemes being carried out. The sheer number of cones, narrow lanes and speed cameras are proof that the Government’s first road investment strategy is in full swing. It’s investment on a huge scale that the Department for Transport and Highways England say will enhance, renew and improve the strategic road network (SRN).
The benefits are clear to see: multi-billion pound investment into the SRN that will prevent over 2,500 deaths or serious injuries on the network, build over 1,300 additional lane miles and deliver improvements to 200 sections of the network for cyclists. But is this what road users are asking for?
It’s Transport Focus’s mission is to get the best deal for road users. With a strong emphasis on evidence-based campaigning and research, we ensure that we know what is happening on the ground. We don’t assume what users want, we ask them. Next year we will launch our new Strategic Roads User Survey. A large-scale satisfaction survey that will tell us what users really think about their experiences of travelling on the SRN.
The investment in the SRN that the customer may want to see might be a different thing altogether. Short-term pain for long-term gain is all very well, but may be disruptive to commutes, days out or visits to friends and relatives. Hauliers needing to deliver goods across the country may benefit from those long-term improvements, but they still need to make efficient and timely journeys while the roadworks are in place. We already know from our priorities for improvement research that the management of roadworks ranks highly with car and van drivers, motorcyclists and lorry drivers.
Our latest research Incidents and roadworks: the road user perspective delves deeper into these issues. As well as roadworks it looks at the management of incidents and at the information road users want and need.
I am pleased to announce that we will be launching this research at Highways UK in November. Having spoken to lorry drivers, business commuters and leisure users, the report makes a number of recommendations aimed at addressing road users’ concerns. It’s vital that we understand how roadworks and incidents impact on users and understand how things could be made better for them.
Transport Focus will be launching its new research ‘Incidents and roadworks: the road user perspective’ at Highways UK.
Anthony Smith – Chief Executive, Transport Focus