The road ahead: Monitoring Highways England in the next decade

by Iain Ritchie, Performance Analyst, Roads

15 August 2019

There are more than 38 million vehicles licensed to use Great Britain’s roads at the moment and around half of England’s residents use the approximate 4,300 miles of motorways and major A-roads managed by Highways England at least twice a week – so roads matter.

We recently published our assessment of Highways England’s performance in 2018-19, and reported that the company is largely meeting the needs of drivers with fewer people being killed or seriously injured, traffic incidents being cleared quickly and the road surface kept in good condition.

However, road user satisfaction is not as high as we expect so we are continuing our enhanced monitoring in this area and assessing how well Highways England’s customer service improvement plan – which has seen it trialling 60mph speed limits through major motorway roadworks, and improving the information it gives road users – is received.

Delivering major schemes

In 2018-19, Highways England started work on four major schemes, and completed six others. During the year, the company agreed changes to its major schemes programme, aimed at reducing disruption, and ensuring that only schemes that deliver real value for money and have stakeholder support go ahead. Of the 112 major schemes that were originally planned to start by 2020, 103 are still on the books and Highways England expects to have started at least 70 of these by the end of March next year.

Looking forward

The year ahead is particularly important for Highways England. The company is working to deliver the plans it promised by the end of 2020, while developing new plans for what it is going to do over the next five years.

This time next year we will report on Highways England’s performance between 2015 and 2020.

For Highways England, its priorities for the coming year include improving its customer service while continuing to deliver major improvement schemes and demonstrating that it is providing real value-for-money for taxpayers.