Road network size and condition statistics information

Guide to road network size and condition statistics, source documents, accompanying notes, definitions and supporting technical documents.



Department for Transport produces statistics relating to the Great Britain’s road network size and condition.

Further information on each of these topics is given below and in the documents above:

Road length statistics

Road length statistics provide estimates of the length of all roads maintained at public expense in Great Britain, by road category and region.

Within these statistics, roads are classified as either “major” or “minor”. Major roads include motorways and all class ‘A’ roads. These roads usually have high traffic flows and are often the main arteries to major destinations. Minor roads comprise ‘B’ and ‘C’ classified roads in addition to unclassified roads.

Information on the lengths of major roads is maintained by the Department for Transport using information from local authorities, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and Ordnance Survey. The statistics include a breakdown for centrally managed and local authority managed major roads. Road length information for minor ‘B’, ‘C’ and unclassified roads is obtained from a range of sources including Ordnance Survey roads data (the Integrated Transport Network dataset), local authorities, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

In addition to road class, road lengths statistics are classified by urban and rural roads. Urban roads are major and minor roads that sit within a built up area, with a population of 10,000 or more in England and Wales or 3,000 or more in Scotland. Rural roads are major and minor roads outside urban areas.

For 2017, the England and Wales figures are based on the definition published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which is derived from the 2011 census. The figures for Scotland are based on the 2013-14 definition published by the Scottish Government in November 2014. Data for years prior to 2017 use the previous definition which is based on the 2001 Communities and Local Government definition of Urban Settlements.

Road condition statistics

Road condition statistics provides information on the condition of local authority road, motorways and trunk roads in England.

The statistics are drawn from a number of sources, including SCANNER surveys (machine surveys of local authorities’ classified roads), TRACS surveys (machine surveys of the Highways Agency’s road network), manual surveys of unclassified roads, and skidding resistance surveys.

Published 29 August 2013
Last updated 5 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Notes and definitions and methodology documents updated for the road length statistics 2017 release.
  2. Guidance documents updated for the 2017 road conditions report.
  3. Road length guidance documents updated.
  4. Guidance documents updated for the 2016 road conditions report.
  5. Road length notes and methodology documents updated.
  6. Road condition guidance documents updated for 2015.
  7. Road conditions documents updated.
  8. First published.