Less than half of businesses running lorries on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads are satisfied with how those roads meet their business needs, according to a new survey from independent watchdog Transport Focus.
Findings from the Logistics and Coach Survey: Strategic Roads reveal that, of the 414 logistics businesses surveyed, just over two in five were satisfied. Almost one in three logistics businesses said they were dissatisfied.
The survey measured the satisfaction of heavy goods vehicle managers in five key areas: planning information, clear up after accidents, roadside rest facilities, roadworks and quality of road surface.
Clear up after accidents and roadside rest stops were the lowest rated areas for logistics businesses. Consideration of drivers’ working hours when clearing up after accidents and the security and value for money of rest facilities were key causes of dissatisfaction.
The availability of live travel information came out on top, particularly relating to the level of congestion on roads.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Transport Focus, said: “Freight logistics businesses are one of the biggest users of England’s motorways and ‘A’ roads, so it’s important that we understand their experiences of using them. This is an opportunity for those businesses to tell us what’s working, what’s not working, and crucially, where they want to see improvements.
“The new survey will help Highways England focus on better meeting the needs of an important group of its customers.”
Chris Floyd, General Manager of Linehaul Resourcing and Development at DPD Group, added: “This survey represents an important message from the logistics sector to Highways England. The events of 2020 have made it even more apparent than before that the bulk movement of goods and people are the strategic pillars of our economy.
“The management of the Strategic Road Network is crucial to UK economic recovery and growth, and in those aims the logistics industry needs to find Highways England open for business. As part of the industry that forms Highways England’s largest customer, I am grateful to Transport Focus for gathering and publishing this survey.”
Other key findings from the survey:
40 per cent said road surface had a significant impact on wear and tear to their vehicles; eight per cent said it damaged goods they carry
66 per cent rated Highways England’s management of these roads in terms of safety as ‘good’
15 per cent of businesses feel like they matter in Highways England’s medium to long-term plans
the management of short-term and long-term roadworks were both identified as areas for improvement
overall satisfaction was lower among managers of articulated lorries than it was for managers of rigid lorries.
The Logistics and Coach Survey: Strategic Roads will be one of the official measures used by the Office of Rail and Road to monitor Highways England’s performance in the second Road Period, 2020-2025. Transport Focus will continue to share its findings with Highways England to help it drive improvements.
The survey will be carried out next in October 2020 and will be repeated every four months after that.
Logistics UK, the Road Haulage Association and the Confederation of Passenger Transport have all helped in the survey’s development.