Setting out ORR’s approach for a successful second Road Investment Strategy

20 December 2016

By Peter Antolik, Director, Highways

Last week, ORR published our approach to our involvement in setting a successful second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2), which will shape England’s motorways and trunk roads beyond 2020. The programme of investment is expected to at least match the £15bn of funding provided in the current Road Period.

While the Department for Transport sets the Road Investment Strategy, ORR has two important roles. First we provide advice to the Secretary of State for Transport that what is developed is challenging and deliverable within the resources available. This includes providing advice on the performance requirements and the investment plan, as well as scrutinising the level of efficiency proposed by Highways England. Secondly, we will monitor how the company is meeting the relevant obligations that relate to the setting of the next Road Investment Strategy.

In our approach document, we highlight the need to consider lessons learnt from the current Road Period, and look to establish a robust process for RIS2 and subsequent Road Investment Strategies. We highlight the crucial role a comprehensive evidence base will have in developing a robust and resilient set of proposals, to ensure plans deliver for road users and do so efficiently. The proposals also need to be specific and detailed, and developed transparently to allow for effective monitoring and for road users and the supply chain to plan with confidence.

Along with our approach to setting the upcoming RIS, we have published an update on our work in benchmarking. As well as looking at Highways England’s performance across its regions, we have done some initial analysis in order to assess potential international comparators against the company, including on safety performance.

Effective, ongoing stakeholder engagement is a core component of developing the Road Investment Strategy for 2020-25 to ensure that the priorities of others are understood, and wider opportunities such as links with other transport modes and the interface with the local road network are fully considered. Highways England must lead on this, and we would particularly encourage participation in the work developing route strategies during the Spring of 2017 which will inform Highways England’s investment plans and priorities for the next Road Period. However, we will want to assure ourselves that the right level of engagement is taking place through our own dialogue with stakeholders. So do stay in touch.

We look forward to working with you in doing this as RIS2 develops.