Road User Voice – October 2015 – On the road with Highways England in Yorkshire
30 October 2015
We continue to further our understanding of the issues that affect road users in different parts of England.
Towards the end of October we were invited by Highways England to visit its regional office in Yorkshire.
At the regional control centre in Wakefield we were given a tour of the control room. We met the traffic officers responsible for setting the signals, sending out staff and helping road users who may have broken down.
Geographically, this is Highway Engalnd’s largest region and stretches from the south of Sheffield all the way to Scottish border and to the coast in the east. Highlights included seeing the region’s newest technology being used to control the M62 smart motorway to keep users moving, as well as the coordination needed to respond to incidents.
In the afternoon we were out with an on-road traffic officer experiencing the challenges in keeping the highest motorway in England, the M62, running. We saw what is was like for drivers when the hard shoulder was switched to a running lane (with no hard shoulder). It certainly focuses the mind when it’s busy!
For our second day we visited the main regional office in the centre of Leeds. This is home to many of the people responsible for maintaining and upgrading the motorways and trunk roads of the region.
We learned about the challenges and issues they face when designing new schemes. We explained to them how in the future we can help them to better understand the views and needs of road users.
We were fascinated by their explanation of the complexities of keeping the motorways open during severe weather. It was also interesting to hear about the innovations currently being designed and tested to improve navigating diversion routes when main routes need to be closed for essential works.