Over half of operators rate roads positively
Just over half of coach and freight managers are satisfied with England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads when it comes to meeting their business needs, according to the latest survey from independent watchdog Transport Focus.
The 2020-2021 ‘Logistics and Coach Survey: Strategic Roads’ asked over 1,000 freight and coach vehicle managers for their views, including about the quality of advance and live information, accident response, road surface quality, rest facilities and aspects of Highways England’s management of these roads.
Satisfaction with clearing up after accidents and with rest stop facilities were rated lowest. Three in ten rated the time it takes to re-open roads after an accident as good. Value for money of rest stops received the lowest individual rating, with around two thirds rating it as poor. Businesses also wanted roadworks to be completed in shorter stretches and more intense bursts.
When asked about Highways England’s day-to-day management of roads, road safety came out on top with just under two thirds rating this positively.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Logistics and coach businesses rack up huge mileages on motorways and major ‘A’ roads so it’s important that Highways England knows what they think. This survey gives a clear view of what these businesses think they do well and where they need to improve.
“Freight and coach businesses tell us they want better rest stop facilities, incidents to be cleared up faster and for roadworks to take less time.”
Other key findings from the survey include:
- How Highways England manages the network has the biggest impact on overall satisfaction. This is specifically in relation to how it manages journey time reliability; journey speeds; balancing carrying out roadworks with keeping traffic moving; and understanding business needs
- One in five think businesses like theirs matter in Highways England’s medium to long-term plans.
- Live travel information was rated better overall than advance route planning information.
- Two fifths of respondents rated road surface as poor. There was also concern from around three in ten that road surface damages goods and impacts on passenger comfort.
- Some respondents raised concerns about the safety of smart motorways, including the time taken to display the red ‘X’ on and other drivers’ behaviour on these roads.