Road users want better information when stuck in roadworks

A report from transport user watchdog Transport Focus says the highways industry must consider the needs of people in vehicles when carrying out roadworks.

That’s the message from road users across England as Transport Focus launches its report on people’s experiences of planned roadworks and unplanned disruption.

Chief executive Anthony Smith said: “Road users tell us that they will be patient, to a point, with roadworks and other delays. But they want Highways England to remember that there are people inside the affected vehicles. This means better information on what is happening, why and for how long. It also means more work to relieve those caught in lengthy delays who may need access to water, toilets or other help.”

The report, Incidents and roadworks – A road user perspective, follows the watchdog’s 2015 work on road users’ needs and experiences of the strategic road network.

In it, the watchdog recommends planning shorter roadworks, 24/7 working and involving the freight industry more in roadworks planning. It also encourages more work to help release trapped traffic, preventing vehicles from joining the back of a long queue and providing more helpful information when they are stuck.

Key findings in the report included:

  • Road users want to see continued investment in our motorways and major ‘A’ roads. They accept that it will come with some short-term pain, but feel that this could be lessened if users’ interests were more strongly considered when planning and implementing roadworks. For example, shorter lengths of roadworks, more visible work activity and better information helps road users to tolerate roadworks.
  • Road users are broadly sympathetic when there are accidents. However, they are still looking to Highways England to get the road open again more quickly and, if it is clearly a major incident, to take bold measures to get people on their way and protect the welfare of those stuck in the queues.
  • Road users have many examples of where their need for clear, accurate information is not currently being met, particularly once they are out on the road.

Transport Focus will now use these findings to work with Highways England, the Department for Transport and others to help shape the management of incidents and roadworks to better meet the needs of road users.

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