Highways England has a new name – National Highways – and is now preparing new long-term plans for its road network strategy for England. Ahead of these plans, a new report has been released outlining improvement priorities for road users.
Conducted by the independent watchdog for transport users, Transport Focus, the report has found that almost two-thirds of motorists consider maintenance of existing roads to be the top priority. People would prefer to see road surfaces fixed before building new roads or adding lanes to existing roads.
On top of this, almost one in five gave road surface quality a “Poor” rating. Potholes, cracks and loose tarmac on motorways and major A roads are among the main concerns for drivers today, and it is these issue that National Highways will need to focus their investments in sooner rather than later.
New strategies ahead
It’s now vital for National Highways that future investments take the priorities of road users into account, according to Transport Focus’ Chief Executive, Anthony Smith. “There are clear messages from road users,” he states in the report. “Their top priority for improvement to the Strategic Road Network is road surface quality, followed by the safer design and upkeep of roads.”
The research carried out by Transport Focus helped to determine the interests of motorists ahead of the next Road Investment Strategy. The strategy intends to set out the Government’s requirements between 2025 and 2030. It will be the responsibility of National Highways to then deliver the necessary improvements over this period.
Other priorities include safer road design, better upkeep of roads and roadworks management. Better lighting on the road network and more roadside facilities are also strongly desired to improve safety and comfort for those making long journeys. Finally, motorists wish for more preparedness in dealing with unplanned disruptions like breakdowns and accidents, with speedy recovery and roadside information notices to be improved too.
It is hoped that all of these considerations will be addressed when the Government discusses the latest strategy with National Highways ahead of the 2025 – 2030 timeframe of works.