Tunnel Vision: New research highlights road users' concerns

06/12/2018
Dominic Browne

As Highways England prepares for several major tunnelling projects, it has teamed up with watchdog Transport Focus for some timely insight into road user concerns around these key assets.

Proposed new tunnels at A303 Stonehenge and the Lower Thames Crossing will double the length of tunnels on Highways England’s Strategic Road Network.

A computer generated image of the proposed tunnel for the A303 at Stonehenge

Using qualitative research conducted with road users, as well as a literature review, Transport Focus recommended that Highways England keep the following issues in mind:

  • ensure the specific needs of disabled road users are met when using existing and new tunnels, including providing wheelchair-friendly emergency escape routes
  • provide timely, accurate information about estimated travel time to allow road users to plan rest stops – particularly important for lorry drivers
  • ensure tunnels are intuitive to use and that specific ‘rules’ about speed and overtaking are clear
  • increase awareness of what to do if you break down or there is an emergency
  • learn from experiences in other countries about how to avoid monotony and boredom in longer tunnels.

This research suggested that road users anticipate changes to the ‘rules of the road’ when driving through tunnels, but they are unsure what these are. Specifically, the areas of confusion tend to be:

  • speed limits
  • changing lanes
  • overtaking
  • how large a gap to leave between the vehicle in front
  • whether to use lights, and which lights to use
  • what to do in an emergency
  • what to do if their vehicle breaks down
  • ability to stop and rest in a tunnel (especially a longer one).

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: 'Road users expect driving in tunnels to be intuitive. Highways England must do more to remove confusion about speed limits, overtaking, and what to do if you break down.

'Highways England should also ensure that its existing tunnels are maintained to high standards, including road surfaces, lighting and cleanliness.'

Mike Wilson, executive director ans chief highway engineer at Highways England, said: 'Tunnels are rare structures that are not, for many drivers, a regular experience. Safety systems are a particular characteristic of tunnels and it is important that we understand our customers’ perspectives on safety and tunnel environments. This report contributes to that understanding.

'We are drawing on the best international engineering and human factors expertise when reviewing our standards and educating drivers around the safe use of tunnels – and we will incorporate these useful recommendations into that body of work.'

Highways jobs

Assistant Director - Growth and Development

Lincoln City Council
£59,058.00 - £65,127.00
Looking for an experienced manager with a good track record in proactively driving economic growth and investment. Lincoln, Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincoln City Council

Assistant Director – Transport and Connectivity

Birmingham City Council
£73,513 - £90,864
This is one of a number of influential new senior roles for collaborative people, motivated by doing what’s right for our city and residents. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

Director (Environment and Planning)

Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council
£77,265 p.a.
You will have a great opportunity to drive forward an ambitious strategic growth agenda... Hinckley, Leicestershire
Recuriter: Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council

Service Director – Environment

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£98,615
Looking to recruit to a key post within our Economy and Infrastructure Directorate.  Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Transport & Development Officer (Career Grade)

London Borough of Bexley
£29,130 - £40,173
This is a Career Grade post and an excellent opportunity. Bexley (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
If you are an experienced Transport Planner then we need you to step aboard.  Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Transport Planning Officer x 2

Plymouth City Council
£32,233 to £41,846
Exciting time to join the Council and this role represents an opportunity to make a real difference... Plympton, Plymouth
Recuriter: Plymouth City Council

Waste and Fleet Operations Manager

Ipswich Borough Council
£52,020 - £56,100 (pay award pending)
Looking for someone to lead and manage a large and vital operational area... Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Ipswich Borough Council

Business Manager - Planning Development

Newark & Sherwood District Council
£52,004 to £55,188 per annum
Looking for a suitably qualified and experienced individual to lead, manage, and develop the Council’s Development Management team. Newark, Nottinghamshire
Recuriter: Newark & Sherwood District Council

Spatial Data Developer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£36275 - £40831 per annum + exclusive benefits
As a senior GIS developer you will work within our Data Insight team to apply your experience in open source geospatial data management technologies. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Innovation Integration Lead

West Midlands Combined Authority
£48758 - £54881 per annum + exclusive benefits
This is an exciting new post that will support the Head of Transport Innovation in the Policy, Strategy and Innovation Directorate of TfWM. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Transport Systems Engineer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£26238 - £30698 per annum + exclusive benefits
This is an exciting new post in the Transport Innovation team of TfWM’s Policy, Strategy and Innovation Directorate. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Senior Future Mobility Developer

West Midlands Combined Authority
£36275 - £40831 per annum + exclusive benefits
You will play a significant formative role in shaping and delivering a major new programme of Future Mobility Zones. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Assistant Spatial Data Analyst

West Midlands Combined Authority
£19698 - £22431 per annum + exclusive benefits
As a GIS Analyst you will work within TfWM’s extremely strong Data Insight team. Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Senior Development Engineer

Bristol City Council
£27,358 - £33,136
Bristol is an exciting, and culturally thriving Regional Capital City of Bristol
Recuriter: Bristol City Council

Senior Engineer

Hounslow London Borough Council
Scale PO5 £41,847 - £44,691
We are looking for an experienced Traffic & Parking Engineer, able to work quickly and efficiently across Hounslow (City/Town), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hounslow London Borough Council

Principal Planner orPlanning Officer

Torridge District Council
Principal Planner up to £34,788 per annum / Planning Officer up to £31,371 per annum
Each role will provide rewarding opportunities to build experience and further your career. Bideford, Devon
Recuriter: Torridge District Council

Major Transport & Development Projects - Strategic Specialist

Wiltshire Council
£51,763 - £57,066
Wiltshire has a highly regarded record of securing funding and delivering major transport improvements across all modes of travel. Wiltshire
Recuriter: Wiltshire Council

Road Safety Manager

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£35991 - £38994 per annum
We are looking a fantastic new road safety expert to lead our high performing and innovative Road Safety Team. England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Sustainability Team Leader

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£41847 - £44691 per annum
Sustainability Team Leader Full Time (permanent contract)Grade
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Download your Highways App

Google App Apple App

Highways on Fridays

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Includes:

  • The Jubliee of Britain's first motorway
  • The Big Interview with Dr Howard Robinson
  • Highways England's latest work in computer-led design
View the latest issue

Latest Video