What has Transport Focus been doing to make roadworks better? Back in 2016 we published our incidents and roadworks research where we gave Highways England recommendations to improve users’ experiences. Since then, we have kept up this work to make sure road users are kept at the heart of planning and carrying out roadworks.
We know that road users want to see investment in motorways and major ‘A’ roads but that they want roadworks carried out with more consideration for those driving through them.
Recently we have seen a number of changes that Highways England has made to its roadworks policy. One example is putting 60mph speeds where safe to do so rather than having a blanket approach to speed limits which road users found unsuitable. It has been encouraging to see a new roadworks toolkit that Highways England has introduced that ensures every road scheme considers a set of principles that prioritises road users’ needs.
While every set of roadworks will be different and will require its own approach, we have started to see project teams trying out new ways to make improvements. On the M56 junctions six (Manchester Airport) to eight (Bowdon) smart motorway project, Highways England has recently introduced a new feedback tool to monitor road user experience and make changes where needed. On the ground, we are starting to see teams try new signage that aims to provide more helpful information such as on the M6 junctions 21a (Croft interchange) to 26 (Orrell interchange) where road users are told why the hard shoulder is closed. On several projects Highways England has started to introduce contraflow systems which reduce the number of road closures needed. The M6 junctions 13 (Stafford) to 15 (Stoke-on-Trent), is predicted to be completed six months earlier than first thought due to this new (or maybe old!) way of working.
Changes to roadworks, whether big or small, are starting to make a difference for drivers. We will continue to make sure the road user voice is heard and press for our research recommendations to be applied effectively.
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Source Transport User Voice – February 2021