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Transport User Voice – January 2021 – M4 smart motorway upgrade

17 December 2020

Helping roadworks be less painful

How do road users feel about the roadworks on the M4? We’ve been working with Highways England over the last two years to help improve drivers’ experience of the works to upgrade the motorway.

Roadworks have been taking place on the M4 motorway between junctions three (Hillingdon) and 12 (Theale/Reading West) as Highways England upgrades it to a smart motorway. Our latest research looks at road users’ awareness, expectations and experiences as well as the associated disruption to their journeys.

We asked over 1000 drivers for their views across the affected area of the M4, including lorry drivers and disabled drivers.

Just under half (46 per cent, down from 53 per cent in 2019) were satisfied with their most recent experience of the M4. Two thirds of drivers (67 per cent) said they were aware of the M4 smart motorway upgrade work. This is up from a half (53 per cent) at the same point in 2019.

Transport Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said:

“Drivers are never going to love roadworks but we’re looking at how they can be made less painful. By working with Highways England on the M4 project we have been able to help it understand what’s working and where there needs to be improvement.

“We would like to see Highways England continue to increase awareness of the M4 roadworks, particularly among less frequent users of the motorway and those who may be switching to road in light of Covid-19.

“We’ll continue to work with Highways England to help make things as painless as possible for road users between now and the M4 work being finished.”

This research will be used to help boost the experience of road users on the M4. It will also be used to help inform the planning and implementation of other major projects that Highways England undertakes.

 

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