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

02 November 2015

With the roads team up to full strength now, we’ve had a busy month since I last wrote. To give you a flavour of the sort of things we’ve been up to, this edition of Road User Voice is packed with news of the team’s activities.

Whether it’s a planned stop (or you’ve just been caught short!), a sign indicating a motorway service area ahead can be a welcome one. However, what really makes a good service area from a road user perspective? Well, we’re going to find out and we have already started scoping a piece of research in this area. Do read the article about it in this edition for further information.

While thankfully we’ve not had hundreds of lorries parked on the M20 in Operation Stack since the summer, we’re still working with multiple agencies to ensure the road user voice is heard. Consequently, we’ve been busy finalising a piece of research to better understand the experiences and needs of lorry drivers caught up in Operation Stack.

We hope it will not be needed, but if Stack is implemented again, our fieldwork teams will be ready to leap into action. We would like to thank the many agencies and companies that have offered us their assistance with this piece of work.

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee recently met to discuss the issues around Operation Stack. We submitted a letter which set out the work we have been doing and what we’ll be doing in the future. You can read it here and for a full round-up of our work on Stack, check out our new web page here.

We’ve also been pressing ahead with designing the pilot phase for the new road user satisfaction survey that will eventually replace the current National Road User Satisfaction Survey (NRUSS). We’re keen that the new survey becomes a tool for improving road users’ experiences on our motorways and trunk roads.

We held a workshop in the middle of October to gather feedback on our thinking so far. The pilot phase will continue until April 2016 and the new survey launch is planned for October 2016. 

We’re always keen to increase our knowledge and understanding of issues that affect road users. We have been learning more about the network in Yorkshire and were out with Highways England traffic officers and discussing issues with staff in Leeds recently. Be sure to read more about my team’s experiencesAnthony Smith, our chief executive, has also blogged about this.

We’ve also met Highways England to hear about its early engagement with the High Speed 2 (HS2) company to minimise disruption to road users during construction of the new railway where it crosses the road network.

All in all a busy month! 

Lastly, we’d like to invite you to come along to our conference and Board meeting in Gateshead this month. Between 2 and 5pm on Wednesday 11 November we’ll be at BALTIC Centre of Contemporary Art. Our theme is The North East: well connected – or out on a limb? and our speakers will include Highways England chief executive Jim O’Sullivan. Afterwards there will be a reception with a chance to chat to our staff and Board. Please email to confirm your attendance and for more details.  

You are also welcome to attend our Board meeting on Thursday 12 November, between 10am and 12noon, at the Jury’s Inn Hotel in Newcastle – email to let us know you’re coming. 

Guy Dangerfield
Road User Director


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