Transport User Voice – November 2018 – How good are England’s major roads for walkers, cyclists and horse riders?

29 October 2018

Measuring the impacts of poor signage, design and maintenance

Transport Focus recently published the very first survey to measure the real impact of inadequate signage, unsuitable design and poor maintenance on the experience of cyclists and pedestrians when they travel along, beside or across major ‘A’ roads and motorways maintained by Highways England.

As the report explains, a new and innovative survey methodology has been tested out in two regions to develop a quantitative measure of satisfaction among cyclists and pedestrians on and over Highways England’s network, supplemented by qualitative findings among these users and equestrians.

Launching the research, Transport Focus’s chief executive Anthony Smith said:

“Cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians deserve to feel safe on their journeys, so it should be no surprise there is a clear relationship between how safe these road users feel and how satisfied they are with travelling along, over or beside major roads and motorways.

“We are using the results of this research to press Highways England to upgrade roads to better meet the needs of these users. This should include more distance between them and fast-moving traffic as well as ensuring paths and crossing points have better surfaces and lighting.”

Key findings of the research

More than three-quarters of cyclists and pedestrians in each of the areas covered by this research are satisfied with that part of their journey made on, alongside, or across the Highways England network of motorways and major ‘A’ roads.

  • Cyclists are significantly less likely than pedestrians to feel safe on the part of their journey that interacts with the Highways England network – due to the proximity and speed of the traffic that is nearby. For pedestrians, personal security along these routes is a particular concern – this group will notice when a location is secluded.

The resulting case studies have already been presented to Highways England’s regional teams, so they can start designing improvements wherever possible. A roundtable event with Highways England and key stakeholders to discuss the findings of the research and proposed network interventions is in planning.

Transport Focus also intends to conduct similar research in other areas of England, as funding permits, and will press for this new survey to become a ‘reported metric’ used to measure the performance of Highways England from 2020.

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