Road users should be given better information amid traffic disruption – report

Motorists should be given better and more timely information about problems on the roads to help ease their frustration when there is disruption, a report has suggested.

Highways England needs to give road users more advanced warning about problems, whether they are caused by planned works or unexpected diversions, Transport Focus said.

More detail at the time of disruption can reduce frustration among drivers and potentially increase goodwill towards those working on managing the disruption, the research found.

The report said: “The key area of dissatisfaction concerns information at times of unexpected disruption.

“For road users, information in these circumstances is often perceived to be inaccurate or out-of-date, and insufficient or lacking in detail.”

Some of those among the 252 road users surveyed suggested there could even be consequences for safety as a lack of information could prompt motorists to search for more details while driving.

The report added: “In terms of Highways England’s role in information provision, most road users had given this little thought; but when they did, there was a clear sense of wanting the accuracy, timeliness and usefulness of information to improve, with a strong implication that Highways England has a role to play because it is ‘their road’.”

In the context of a future where there may be self-driving cars, motorists want a trustworthy single source of accurate roads information, the report said.

Highways England, which operates, maintains and improves motorways and major A roads, should give improve information to allow road users to feel more in control of their journeys, Transport Focus said.

Its chief executive Anthony Smith said: “This research confirms that people using motorways and major A roads want better information – especially during unexpected delays – so they can make informed choices that put them more in control of their journeys.

“This study also underscores what we know from the Strategic Roads User Survey: that on the routes it manages Highways England needs to give road users more advanced warning about problems, whether caused by planned roadworks or unexpected delays and diversions.”

Transport Focus said it will work with Highways England and the Office of Rail and Road to ensure that findings of the study are used to bring about improvements in information provided to road users.