New research from Transport Focus has found that 65% of car and van drivers says the maintenance of existing roads is more important than building new roads or adding lanes to existing ones.

The report, Road users’ priorities for improvement, comes as National Highways (formerly Highways England) prepares its long-term plans for England's strategic road network.

After speaking to more than 5,600 drivers, to understand their priorities for improvement to England’s major roads, the independent watchdog found that the quality of road surfaces is their number one issue.

Almost one-in-five car and van drivers rated the quality of road surfaces on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads as poor, with potholes and cracks being the main concerns.

Road users’ top priorities for improvement as found in the study included:

• Improved quality of road surfaces

• Safer design and upkeep of roads

• Better management of roadworks

• Better management of unplanned delays such as accidents or breakdowns

• Better information about unplanned disruptions (such as accidents)

• Better behaved drivers

• Better information about roadworks happening in future

• Better lighting on the network

• Reduced environmental impact of road travel

• Better roadside facilities (service areas, laybys)

Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, spoke about the findings:

“Road users tell us they want to see England’s major roads improved with better roads surfaces and fewer potholes and cracks.

“It’s vital that National Highways focuses future investment on these priorities to ensure all road users have smoother, safer journeys.”

Transport Focus carried out this research to help put road users’ interests at the heart of the third Road Investment Strategy.

The strategy will set out what the Government requires National Highways to deliver between 2025 and 2030. This includes building new roads, maintaining current ones and operating its network.