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Transport User Voice – June 2019 – What do drivers feel about M4 roadworks?

29 May 2019

Taking a smart approach to road user research

The latest piece of Transport Focus research among road users  Upgrading the M4 to a smart motorway – road users’ views  has just been published today. 

This project, carried out in partnership with Highways England, provides road users views about the roadworks currently underway to upgrade the M4 into a smart motorway between Hayes (junction 3) and Theale (junction 12). 

Building on previous experience of testing user opinion on rail through periods of major disruption at Derby and Waterloo stations, Transport Focus has now successfully adapted this type of research to a road project for the first time.

Knowing what road users really think about a particular set of roadworks at the start, and then checking back as work progresses, will be invaluable in understanding what is – or is not  going well from the perspective of those using the M4. It will help Highways England know what it is doing well and what it should look to change, hopefully leading to increased road user satisfaction.

As investment continues into England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads, it is increasingly likely that road users will pass through roadworks on their journeys. Transport Focus already knows from its Strategic Roads User Survey that satisfaction with roadworks can be much lower than other measures. 

While it’s unlikely that road users will ever love roadworks, Transport Focus continues to challenge Highways England to focus on the ‘pain points’. It’s good to see various initiatives being pursued in this area, including the trialling of 60 miles per hour speed limits where safe, and piloting better electronic billboard communications on the A14 between Huntingdon and Cambridge.  

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