Highways England misses customer satisfaction target


Highways England narrowly missed its key target for customer satisfaction after drivers complained about the way roadworks are managed, a national watchdog has revealed.

Transport user watchdog Transport Focus has published its latest survey of 2,000 road users, the National Road Users’ Satisfaction Survey, which measures satisfaction with Highways England's strategic road network (SRN).

Motorway roadworks are particularly frustrating for drivers

Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: ‘Overall satisfaction with motorways and major A roads is relatively high at 89.1%, although just below the 90% target. Satisfaction with motorway journeys at 88% pulls the overall score down.

‘These results provide pointers to Highways England about where they should focus effort to improve road users’ satisfaction. Delivering satisfactory journey times and managing roadworks effectively on motorways are among the weaker areas within the survey.

‘Users want journey times that are predictable. Delays, caused by roadworks, congestion and accidents can undermine that. Satisfaction with journey time on motorways has decreased in the last six years, no doubt increasing traffic levels and roadworks to deliver extra capacity have played a part.’

Key results include:

  • Overall satisfaction by type of road: Motorways scored 88.1% and major A roads at 90.3%, giving an overall total of 89.1%
  • Overall satisfaction by region: Overall satisfaction by Highways England region was the highest in the East and South West (both at 91%) and the lowest in the North West (83%)
  • Journey time – 87%: Down from 88% last year. This was due to the decrease in satisfaction on motorways as a result of roadworks, congestion and accident
  • Roadworks – 63%: Down from 65% last year. This has fallen from a high of 72% in 2013-14. This is lower for motorways at 61% than for major ‘A’ roads at 68%. Transport Focus said the reasons identified are perceived lack of urgency in completing the roadworks and poor information
  • Signage - 93%: Up on the previous year. Dissatisfaction is due to inaccurate variable message signs and other signs being difficult to read or confusing
  • Upkeep - 90%. Motorways (91%) fare slightly better than major A roads (88%). Dissatisfaction results from noisy and poor surfaces, including potholes, and debris
  • Users ‘feeling safe’ - 92%. This has remained fairly steady over recent years, but lower than earlier highest scores of 94% (2011-12 and 2012-14). Key factors detracting from ‘feeling safe’ are poor lighting, poor surfaces and bad weather, and other users’ poor driving.

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