Better road surfaces top of driver and biker priorities for change

08 July 2015

Improved quality of road surfaces on England’s major roads are drivers’ top priority for improvement.

Safer design and maintenance of roads, better behaved drivers and the better management of roadworks are also in their top four priorities. However, improvements to road surfaces were much more important to car and van drivers and motorbikers than these other priorities.

Transport Focus, the independent transport user watchdog, asked nearly 5000 car and van drivers and motorcyclists to rank their priorities for improvement. The results are broken down by type of vehicle, region, age, gender, disability and journey purpose and length.

Anthony Smith, Transport Focus’s chief executive, said:

“Road surface quality is important to drivers and bikers – this is a desire for less noisy, and more comfortable and safe journeys whatever the weather, as well as less potholes.

 “This insight should help Highways England and the government to focus investment and effort on things that make a real difference to road users.”

 The research, Road users’ priorities for improvement: car and van drivers and motorcyclists, also found that:

  • reduced journey times were ranked by drivers as their sixth priority for improvement, although this moved up to second place for commuters and third for business users
  • the better management of unplanned delays such as accidents or breakdowns is more important to women drivers from all age groups who ranked it third, than men drivers who ranked it fifth and sixth across different age groups
  • drivers within the M25 ranked reduced journey time as their second highest priority for improvement
  • bikers are far more aware of (81 per cent) smart motorways than drivers (68 per cent).

This research is the first large-scale quantitative research the watchdog has carried out since starting to represent users of England’s major roads in March 2015.

 – End

Notes to editors

  • In carrying out the research we made extra efforts to ensure people were referring to major roads – the Strategic Road Network (SRN), that is motorways and the most significant ‘A’ roads rather than local roads. We showed those taking part in the research a map to ensure they were answering in relation to the SRN.
  • This research looks at the priorities for improvement among car and van drivers and motorcyclists only. Transport Focus will publish findings of studies into HGV drivers and freight industry fleet managers’ priorities for improvement and the priorities of non-motorised users of the SRN later in 2015.
  • Transport Focus will take responsibility for the National Road User Satisfaction Survey in April 2016 and is currently developing a new survey which will replace it in due course.

 Press office contact: 0300 123 0821

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