Improve real time information about delays on motorways and major ‘A’ roads

19 June 2019

Road users want better information provided on motorways and major ‘A’ roads, particularly during periods of unexpected disruption, says independent watchdog Transport Focus.

In a new study, Road information: the user perspective road users were generally satisfied with information provided across Highways England’s network, but were less happy with that provided on major ‘A’ roads than with that provided on motorways. They also felt that the information provided at times of unexpected disruption was not always timely, accurate or useful enough.

Launching the report, Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus said:

“This research confirms that people using motorways and major ‘A’ roads want better information – especially during unexpected delays – so they can make informed choices that put them more in control of their journeys.

“This study also underscores what we know from the Strategic Roads User Survey: that on the routes it manages Highways England needs to give road users more advanced warning about problems, whether caused by planned roadworks or unexpected delays and diversions.”

The first study ever to focus specifically on road user information requirements in the broadest sense suggests that Highways England needs to improve information on major ‘A’ road – which users felt was not as good as on motorways. It should also look to increase road users’ awareness of when they are using a road that is managed by Highways England in a safe, cost-effective way.

The research suggests that Highways England should consider whether its long-term role is that of the trusted supplier of high-quality ‘single source of the truth’ data to third parties who will provide push and pull information for road users.

As part of a wider campaign to improve road user information, Transport Focus will engage with Highways England and the Office of Rail and Road to ensure that the insight gained from this study is used to drive improvements in the provision of information to road users.


Notes for editors

Road information: the user perspective is published today by Transport Focus (web link goes live 00:01 Wednesday 19 June 2019).

Working in partnership with Highways England and the Office of Rail and Road, the independent road user watchdog Transport Focus commissioned the research agency Define to engage with road users about the information they use when making journeys on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads. This work explored:

  • What sources of road-related information are used currently, and how and when they are accessed?
  • What information needs are not currently being met, and how any gaps might be filled?

What the future looks like in terms of need for and access to information, and what Highways England’s future role in the provision of information might be?

For further information, telephone 0300 123 2170 or email

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