The Office of Road and Rail’s first report on Highways England has said that the organisation made a “good start” to delivery on its Road Investment Strategy (RIS).
The first report from the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) into Highway England’s performance has stated that the organisation met its performance targets and delivered on investment commitments in the 2015-16 period.
“It [Highways England] has supported the smooth flow of traffic by maintaining network availability and motorway incident clearance metrics above its targeted levels. The company has exceeded its target for pavement (carriageway) condition. It has also progressed its environmental strategies and plans, including publishing its biodiversity action plan,” the report stated.
Highways England also achieved 89.3% customer satisfaction during the 2015-16 period. The ORR expects this to rise to 90% when the next measurement period ends in March 2017.
Schemes that were opened to traffic during the 2015-16 period were found to have spending that was £4M higher than estimates, primarily due to additional renewals included in the schemes.
Highways England has “more to do” to plan for efficient and effective renewal on the network, according to the report.
The ORR is concerned that Highways England has not “fully demonstrated” its risk management strategy for the remaining RIS period. It has highlighted skills availability and air quality thresholds as areas that need specific risk strategies.
The company must also make the road network safer. ORR has called for a 40% reduction in people killed and seriously injured on the network by 2020. Fatalities and injuries decreased in 2015, but “continued focus” is required if Highways England is to meet the objective.
ORR’s priorities for Highways England in 2016-17
- Establish clear plans for the delivery of future performance targets
- Establish improved plans for capital investment delivery and for developing portfolio, programme and project management capability
- Improve data quality (for example, asset data and efficiency reporting) by delivering on its coordinated data improvement plan
- Improve transparency about its plans and performance, including the transparency of its plans and strategies in the areas of safety and the environment.