Road User Voice – May 2015 – Road user director’s editorial

05 May 2015

It’s a month into Transport Focus’s role as consumer watchdog for users of England’s Strategic Road Network (SRN).  What have we been up to? Well, lots of getting to know the territory, including literally. We’ve been meeting key stakeholders: those representing particular groups of road users, Highways England as operator of the network, the Department for Transport as service specifier and the Office of Rail and Road as monitor. This important dialogue will continue.

I have been out and about increasing my knowledge of the SRN – from the four-lane A1(M) south of Peterborough to the traditional all-purpose A64 from York to Scarborough. Travelling these roads by coach and bus has allowed me to see their condition, observe signage, watch how traffic behaves – as well as get a ‘feel’ for the routes. When the Transport Focus Board meets in Cardiff in May I’ll take the opportunity to check out the M4 and the M5 in a similar way.

Internally, we are assembling our road user team and fleshing out our first year’s programme. Please do let us have your thoughts on the programme when we seek feedback in May. Former Freight Transport Association CEO Theo de Pencier will shortly join our board. On the staff side, Phil Carey will provide advice on policy issues and Douglas Dalziel will deliver our road user research.

Theo de Pencier Phil Carey Douglas Dalziel

Shortly we will be recruiting a number of road user managers. They will lead our work with stakeholders, making sure Transport Focus understands their issues and their aspirations. The road user managers will also have an important role in working with Highways England to help it drive up user satisfaction.

On the research side, we are continuing to develop our ideas about the way we can survey road user satisfaction, which in due course will take over from Highways England’s National Road User Satisfaction Survey (NRUSS).

Effective engagement with Highways England will be vital to our success on behalf of road users – and to engage with any organisation you need to know the people who work there. For that reason, our chief executive, Anthony Smith, and I will be visiting each of the Highways England regional offices between now and Christmas. And while we are about it we’ll take the opportunity to get to know more parts of the SRN.

Guy Dangerfield
Road user director

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