Road User Voice – August 2016 – Road user director’s editorial

29 July 2016

On long (or even short!) journeys along England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads, the ‘services’ sign can be a welcome one. But what do road users think of service areas and what would they like to see improved? We’ve sought their views and just published our findings which you can read here. A main recommendation is Highways England thinks about roadside facilities as an integral part of its customers’ experience, rather than as businesses that happen to operate next to its roads. And there is a safety argument as well; encouraging drivers to rest. You can read our full article about this research here.

We’re currently finalising another piece of research into road users’ needs and experiences of incidents and roadworks. One finding is that users would prefer shorter lengths of roadworks, even if that meant the work taking longer to complete overall. We’ll shortly be publishing priorities for improvement to Highways England’s roads from a cycling, pedestrian and horse riding perspective. And we’ll also be publishing our research into what HGV drivers want at the new lorry park in Kent.

In other news – we’ve been in the north east of England with Aone+ (one of Highways England’s maintenance contractors) to learn about the road network in that area, which runs right up to the Scottish border north of Berwick. Our chief executive, Anthony Smith, spoke at the New Civil Engineer conference on progress in our first year representing road users and I spoke at the Highways Delivery 2016 conference. I’ve also spent an evening on the M25 near Leatherhead to see how sections of concrete carriageway are renewed.

I’ve also presented to the A47 Alliance about our work representing the interests of road. The alliance, which has been going for 25 years, is a group of local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships campaigning for improvements to the A47 trunk road which runs Lowestoft-Yarmouth-Norwich-King’s Lynn-Peterborough.

Earlier this year we commissioned the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of West of England to carry out a review of published literature on driver attitudes and behaviours. This work is now complete and we will publish it in the autumn.

Finally, work on the new Strategic Roads User Survey continues and research to understand what road users think Highways England’s targets should be from 2020 is getting underway.

Guy Dangerfield
Road User Director


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