Road User Voice – September 2016 – The future of our roads

24 August 2016

What do road users want in the long term? We’ve been working on putting road users at the heart of future plans for roads.

Highways England has a clear programme for its first five years, through to 2020. This makes sense, and has already led to some gains for road users. But what should come after that?

It’s crucial that the next set of plans are based on users’ needs from England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads.

Transport Focus is working closely with the Department for Transport, Highways England and the Office of Rail and Road on these plans, known as ‘Road Investment Strategy 2’ (RIS2).

Two central planks in this work are assembling all the evidence needed to make sure we know what it is that road users want, and then making sure all the parties involved understand what the evidence means.

Earlier this summer we were part of a series of stakeholder meetings hosted by DfT for all the interested parties. This included a workshop session on how the future performance of the road network should best be monitored and managed.

We also explained how we are building up the evidence base that will be needed to understand user priorities ahead of any future investment.

At the heart of this will be the forthcoming Strategic Roads User Survey, and that will be backed up by other bespoke research. This includes work already published, and forthcoming reports including work on road surface quality and experience of smart motorways.

We also have two research projects underway specifically to inform RIS2:

  • User priorities in Highways England’s Route Strategies. We are working with road users to set out their investment priorities for the whole network, section by section – Highways England divides up the network into 18 ‘routes’.
  • What should Highways England be asked to achieve? We are carrying out research with the Office of Rail and Road, Highways England and the Department for Transport to explore what a wide range of road users think. This should help ensure that what the Government chooses to buy from Highways England closely matches road users’ views about what is important.


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