Transport User Voice – January 2022 – The road ahead

16 December 2021

What’s in the pipeline for 2022?

Gearing up for future investment   

We’re barely a third of the way through the second ‘road period’ for England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads. But a lot of thought is already going into what Government should be investing in during the third road period starting in 2025. Those plans will be set out in the third Road Investment Strategy (RIS3). 

As reported previously in Transport User Voice, National Highways got the ball rolling with a route strategies exercise. Transport Focus provided advice about its online feedback tool. We would encourage those who use England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads to have their say before the 31 December deadline. 

Last month, the Department for Transport published its plans for RIS3 in its Planning Ahead document. This sets out the approach to evidence gathering. In particular, the importance of understanding what road users need, now and into the future. It highlights our research findings earlier this year on priorities for improvement and explains how Transport Focus will play a valuable role in preparing for RIS3. 

Early next year we will make a set of recommendations for RIS3 drawing on our road user insight. These will focus on what National Highways should be delivering from 2025 to 2030.  We will be working to help the Government, National Highways and the Office of Rail and Road ensure that RIS3 has road users’ interests at its heart. 

Electric vehicle charging points 

At the end of 2020, the Government announced its decision to end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in 2030. This brought forward the original deadline by a decade. Since then, we’ve seen an increase in sales of electric vehicles (EVs). In 2021, there was nearly a 50 per cent increase in new EV registrations compared to 2020. 

In September, we published some research looking at users’ experiences of having an electric car.   

We have conducted some exploratory work on charging points, which highlights some of the key issues: 

  • Availability appears to be the most important issue for users, particularly because it’s not guaranteed. Concerns are around whether or not (enough) charging points exist, whether they are working, and whether or not they are in use.  
  • The complexity of the payment process can also be a challenge. Various payment methods are offered by different providers with connection fees.  
  • Other issues include the safety of the environment, the ability to seek assistance, and etiquette. 

Given the increasing number of new EV drivers, it appears the charging network can sometimes be difficult to use. The industry needs to ensure that charging infrastructure is as simple and reliable as driving an EV. 

As part of our work in representing EV users of England’s motorways and major A-roads, we plan to pilot a new survey measuring the experience of using EV charging points. Keep an eye out for that in 2022.  

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