Transport User Voice October 2023 – Strategic Roads User Survey

02 October 2023

The M5 takes the title

Drivers have rated the M5 as the most popular motorway in England in a new survey from Transport Focus.

In the Strategic Roads User Survey the M5 motorway between the Midlands and the South West had the highest overall satisfaction at 82 per cent. The M5 motorway has improved both its overall satisfaction rating (74 per cent last year) and its position in the rankings.

More than 9000 road users took part in the watchdog’s survey about their last journey on a motorway or major ‘A’ road managed by National Highways. Road users were most satisfied with the M5 due to the time their journey took, good traffic flow and the road not being too busy during their journey.

Coming second was the M40 at 82 per cent overall satisfaction, doing well again after being the most highly rated road last year (79 per cent). The A303 was rated the best ‘A’ road in England. The road which connects the M3 and the A30 from London to Devon and Cornwall had the highest overall satisfaction at 85 per cent.

The M6 was rated the least popular motorway with the lowest level of satisfaction (66 per cent). The A27 receives the lowest level of overall satisfaction (59 per cent), followed by the A12 (61 per cent). Journeys on smart motorways had lower levels of satisfaction with road users than those that did not include a smart section (smart 69 per cent; not smart 76 per cent).

What are road user’s saying?

Highest ranked roads – what drivers say:

Commenting on the M5 one driver said: “Clear road and signage was clear for roadworks that were taking place.”

Another for the M40 said: “Traffic not too heavy, road in good condition.”

Lowest ranked roads – what drivers say

One driver using the M6 said: “Terrible tarmac conditions in places, matrix signs not up to date, unwarranted smart motorway speed limits.”

Another using the A12 said: “The state of the A12 road surface is terrible, added to that the on-going roadworks make it a fairly unpleasant journey.”

Key findings

  • Overall, 73 per cent of road users were satisfied with their last motorway or major ‘A’ road journey, an improvement on last year’s 69 per cent
  • 71 per cent of users were satisfied with the time their journey took
  • The management of roadworks is the lowest performing area, just 48 per cent of those surveyed were satisfied.
  • Drivers rated the M5 the best motorway with 82 per cent satisfied overall
  • The A303 has the highest overall satisfaction at 85 per cent
  • The A27 receives the lowest level of overall satisfaction (59 per cent), followed by the A12 (61 per cent)
  • Of the motorways, the M6 has the lowest level of satisfaction (66 per cent).

The Strategic Roads User Survey helps National Highways develop initiatives and target investments that will improve the driver experience. The survey is the formal measure in the Government’s second Road Investment Strategy as part of holding National Highways to account for delivering good customer experience. We’ll be asking National Highways to continue to focus on delivering safe, smooth journeys.


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