England’s major roads form focus of new study

13/11/2014
Highways Reporters

A new study that will look at the future of England’s major road network has been commissioned by the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

The study will map out what could be the shape, scale and characteristics of England’s major roads by 2040.

It takes place against a backdrop of a projected 10 million increase in the population over the same time frame, as well as significant social, environmental and economic challenges, and considerable technological change – the implications of which will be investigated by the study.

The Major Roads for the Future project is planned to report in autumn 2016. The two-year study will be led by David Quarmby who was chairman of the RAC Foundation until 2013 and has had a long career in many different aspects of transport.

Working alongside him will be independent consultant Phil Carey, a former senior civil servant at the Department for Transport with wide experience including roads strategy.

The Department for Transport has expressed interest in the study and the Highways Agency will support the project with “advice, information and data”.

David Quarmby said: “This is quite a challenge, given the long timescale and the breadth and scope of the study. But our major road network is a valuable and vital national asset and we must ensure it is fit for its future users and communities, and for local and regional economies.

“We hope this will provide a longer term context for the new five-year Roads Investment Strategies, the first of which the government will publish in December as part of its roads reform agenda. Both the DfT and the Highways Agency have expressed their support for and interest in our study.”

At this stage the term ‘major roads’ is intentionally undefined, and an important early task for the study is to define what the network of interest should be. The study will start by considering the existing strategic road network, and then whether other roads should be included, for example from the primary route network (those marked with green signs).

Discussion papers and reports on particular topics will be published on the study website www.futureroadsengland.org

The study will be overseen by a steering group drawn from trustees of the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

David Hutchinson, chairman of the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, said: “The Rees Jeffreys Road Fund has a long term interest in the roads in this country being fit for purpose and able to meet the needs and expectations of their users.

“Given the long timescales of infrastructure investment, we wanted to develop a vision through to 2040, focussing on how major roads in England might develop to meet the emerging demands of users and the needs of the communities they pass through, while recognising the uncertainties that technology, social and lifestyle changes may bring.

“We are delighted that David Quarmby and Phil Carey have taken on this ambitious study, and they will get all the support they need from the Rees Jeffreys Trustees and the Advisory Panel.”
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