Road condition is more important that more roads.

Almost two thirds (65%) of car and van drivers says the maintenance of existing roads is essential. The building of new roads or adding lanes to existing ones is secondary. The new research comes from Transport Focus.

The independent watchdog spoke to more than 5,600 drivers. Its aim was to understand their priorities for improvement to England’s major roads. The quality of road surfaces came out as their number one issue.

Safer smoother roads

Almost one-in-five drivers rated the quality of road surfaces on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads as poor. Potholes and cracks are by far the main concerns.

The report – Road users’ priorities for improvement – comes as National Highways (formerly Highways England) prepares its long-term plans for England’s strategic road network.

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, says road users “want to see England’s major roads improved”. He says that “better road surfaces and fewer potholes and cracks” are their chief concerns.

He is calling on National Highways to “focus future investment on these priorities”.

The safer design and upkeep of roads was road users’ second priority. Thirdly, better management of roadworks was stipulated.

Transport Focus carried out this research to help put road users’ interests at the heart of the third Road Investment Strategy.

The strategy will set out what the Government requires National Highways to deliver between 2025 and 2030. This includes building new roads, maintaining current ones and operating its network.

Road users’ top priorities for improvement:

  1. Improved quality of road surfaces
  2. Safer design and upkeep of roads
  3. Better management of roadworks
  4. Better management of unplanned delays such as accidents or breakdowns
  5. Improved information about unplanned disruptions (such as accidents)
  6. Driver behaviour
  7. Increased information about roadworks happening in future
  8. Street lighting on the network
  9. Reduced environmental impact of road travel
  10. Nicer roadside facilities (service areas, laybyes)