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Customer dissatisfaction with roadworks still a problem, admits Highways England

Night roadworks

Highways England has admitted the way it delivers roadworks is still leaving customers dissatisfied and managing this is an increasing challenge going into the second roads funding period (RIS2).

Speaking at the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) annual conference, Highways England executive director Elliot Shaw said that customer satisfaction and safety were the two key areas where it was looking to improve.

“Half way through RIS 1, in terms of delivery, I would give us a solid B+,” he said. “If you look at our delivery agenda we’re broadly on track.”

But Shaw said although roads were continuing to become safer, safety was not improving at a fast enought rate. He also said roadworks continued to bring down its customer satisfaction response and more needed to be done to improve how they were carried out.

“There’s more work for use to do and the industry at large to drive the safety agenda at the pace that we want to,” he said.

“In terms of customer satisfaction, generally when we look at our customer responses they’re satisfied with everything, apart from roadworks.

“I think there’s a bigger question for us and the industry in how we plan, manage and deliver our works to impact as little as we can on our customers. That challenge is only going to grow as we ramp up and go into RIS 2.”

Over the next year the Department for Transport will publish a draft of the new RIS2 strategy, after which Highways England will review and respond to comments made. The draft will then be reviewed by regulator Office of Road and Rail (ORR). The final version of the strategy is then due to be published in 2019.

In December last year the government announced Highways England could be given around £30bn in the next RIS period, from 2020 to 2025, with a view to preparing the network for electrification and autonomous vehicles.

Standardising and modularising assets to drive efficiency and productivity is key strategy for RIS2 said Shaw.

He added RIS2 projects would be more “robust” as they had been more thoroughly researched and gone through a longer development process.

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