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

28 September 2015

I’m really pleased to say that our recruitment is now complete! The full Transport Focus road user team is:
• Phil Carey, road user policy advisor
• Theo de Pencier, Board member (non-executive)
• Brigitta Horup, senior insight advisor
• Emma Emery, road user manager
• Lee Rowbotham, road user manager
• Stuart Edwards, road user executive
• Jordan Sargeant, road user executive
• And of course me, Guy Dangerfield, road user director.

Brigitta Horup

Of our new arrivals, Stuart and Jordan join from Transport Focus’s passenger team, Emma from the UK Statistics Authority, Lee from Highways England and Brigitta from English Heritage.

They bring a huge breadth of experience and will allow us to really get motoring – sorry, I couldn’t resist! – on the work programme for this, our first year as the road user watchdog.

The eagle-eyed may have spotted that Douglas Dalziel is missing from this list. Douglas has moved to become head of business innovation at Transport Focus, although he will continue to be involved – alongside Brigitta – in developing the new road user satisfaction survey. This edition of Road User Voice has an update on progress with the new survey.

So what has Transport Focus been up to in August and September? Well, there’s quite a lot to mention. First, we are near to publishing the second part of our strategic road network ‘priorities for improvement’ research, covering the views of freight drivers and their managers.

Second, our learning programme continues. We have visited one of Highways England’s maintenance contractors A-one+, seen the dualling works on the A21, one of the trial sites for the orange roadworks signs, courtesy of contractor Balfour Beatty, had a hugely insightful visit to the RAC at Bescot and we’re delighted to be speaking at the Freight Transport Association’s autumn series of transport manager conferences.

We have also visited the M6 toll road which, although not strictly part of our remit, allowed us to see how a road operator with a bottom line needs to please its customers thinks and behaves. Our chief executive Anthony Smith blogged about the visit – click here if you missed it.

Third, we are getting stuck into helping Highways England think about how to embrace the views of road users, as well as local stakeholders, in its consultations.

Finally, Operation Stack. Thankfully, it’s not been needed recently, but we remain focussed on three issues. The need for a permanent solution that doesn’t close the M20; the need for better information for road users when disruption to ferries or the tunnel causes problems on the roads; and getting research ready so we can understand the experiences of freight drivers caught up in Operation Stack next time it happens. I don’t think I’ve previously been involved in research we hope never to deploy!

PS Don’t forget, if you are interested in our work on behalf of passengers and don’t already receive Passenger Voice each month, click here to subscribe.

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