New user research: What makes a successful road journey?

28 March 2017

Drivers say journey time is the most important factor to measure on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads, according to research published today.

Transport Focus, the transport user watchdog and the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the monitor of Highways England, have come together to identify what road users think should be measured when it comes to judging Highways England’s performance. The research Measuring performance of England’s strategic roads: what users want, includes the views of drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and freight companies.

Drivers are most concerned with issues relating to journey time, which includes how long it takes, how often you arrive when you expect to and avoiding wide variations in travel time for the same trip.

Safety is the focus for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians, whether travelling along or crossing Highways England’s roads.

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said:

“It is important that the way success is measured on our major roads has road users at its heart.  For the first time, we have evidence to show what is important to road users and to help make sure Highways England focuses on the things that best meet their needs. We look forward to working with Highways England, Government and ORR to ensure this research is used effectively to shape the performance required in future.”

Joanna Whittington, Chief Executive, ORR, said:

“ORR is taking an active role in supporting the development of the Government’s next roads strategy.  An important element is to work with Transport Focus and other key stakeholders so that road user needs and aspirations are well understood and articulated.

“This research, along with other studies we are conducting, will contribute to the creation of a strong evidence base to support a clear vision for the next road investment strategy.”

Highways England is preparing a suite of measures to assess the performance of the road network in Road Period 2.  Findings from this research have been shared with them to help with this development.



Notes to editors

Measuring performance of England’s strategic roads: what users want  This qualitative research involved two stages to explore key themes from drivers (including disabled, novice and older drivers) and also cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians on what they wanted from England’s motorways and ‘A’ roads. We spoke to 147 road users at each stage. This research also captured the views of businesses (freight logistics sector and coach operators) for which the Highways England network is vital.

Transport Focus is the independent transport watchdog representing the interests of:

  • rail passengers in Great Britain
  • bus, coach and tram passengers across England outside London
  • all users of England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads (the Strategic Road Network).

We work to make a difference for all transport users.

We took on the responsibility for the National Road Users’ Satisfaction Survey in April 2016 and are currently developing a new survey which will replace it in due course.

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