The Highway Service Levels project was set up to explore public opinions of paved surfaces on the Local Authority road network and to relate their requirements from the highway network to engineering standards currently used to manage the network. The overall aim was to start the process of getting the public mindset into the prioritisation process so that the services provided are better aligned to customer needs. The scope of the work was focused on getting an improved understanding, in qualitative terms, of the levels of service the public expected for the surface of carriageways, cycle tracks and footways.
Following an initial information review, public opinion has been explored in two stages. The first stage consisted of group discussions with a broadly representative cross-section of road users and face-to-face interviews with vulnerable users to examine the terms used by the public and to establish the factors that drive perceptions among different categories of users. These discussions essentially explored recalled and prompted attitudes to footway/carriageway condition.
The second stage consisted of accompanied journeys with individual users to identify the defects they actually noticed, their reactions to different levels of condition when they experienced them and their priorities for maintenance. Journeys were carried out with pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, motorists and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers.
This Report summarises the results of the study and is based on the views expressed by the users who participated in the discussions, interviews and accompanied journeys. Road surfaces are generally not in the consciousness of road users and they normally do not notice them, assuming them to be ‘fit for purpose’. For the study, therefore, participants were asked to focus on surface conditions and this sets the context for all justifications presented in the report.

Want to know more about this project?