Better road surface quality and fixing potholes road users’ top priority for future road investment

27 August 2021

The quality of road surfaces on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads is drivers’ top priority for improvement, new research has found.

Independent watchdog, Transport Focus, spoke to over 5600 drivers to understand their top priorities for improvement to England’s major roads. As National Highways (formerly Highways England) prepares its longer term plans the watchdog checked in with road users to understand their current priorities.

Almost one in five car and van drivers rated the quality of road surfaces on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads as poor, with potholes and cracks being the main concerns.

Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of car and van drivers placed more importance on the maintenance of existing roads than building new roads or adding lanes to existing ones.

The safer design and upkeep of roads was road users’ second priority for improvement, followed by better management of roadworks.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“Road users tell us they want to see England’s major roads improved with better roads surfaces and fewer potholes and cracks.

“It’s vital that National Highways focuses future investment on these priorities to ensure all road users have smoother, safer journeys.”

What road users say about poor road surface quality:

“All they seem to do is patch it, say if there’s a pothole or a winter frost. Patch it up, and three weeks later it needs doing again.”

“Resurface roads to make it a pleasant journey rather than rattling through the uneven surfaces and potholes, where possible do the work at night to make it safer.”

“…fill in the potholes at least. Preferably resurface as most roads are terrible.”

“Ensure that the carriageway surfaces are in good condition, I have experienced damage to my car due to potholes.”

Transport Focus carried out this research to help put road users’ interests at the heart of the third Road Investment Strategy. The strategy will set out what the Government requires National Highways to deliver between 2025 and 2030. This includes building new roads, maintaining current ones and operating its network.

Download report: Road users’ priorities for improvement.

For further information please contact the press office on 0300 123 2170.

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