How Highways England use route strategies and strategic studies to plan for future investment and inform the Road Investment Strategy 2.
The creation of Highways England in 2015 changed the way road investment happens for England’s motorways and major roads. Funding is now determined every five years via a Road Investment Strategy (RIS), which is set by the Secretary of State for Transport.
Stable investment for 5 year periods allows Highways England and the Department for Transport to plan for the long-term, strategic challenges of the road network such as:
- population shifts
- climate change
- technological advances
We are currently delivering the improvements outlined in the first RIS, making wide-ranging improvements to our road network.
Road Investment Strategy (RIS) 2
The second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2) will be delivered between 2020 and 25. We are working in close partnership with the Department for Transport, the Office of Road and Rail and Transport Focus to gather the best evidence possible, assess value for money and get ready to start work.
The detail of how funding will be allocated will be in the RIS2 document due to be published in 2019.
We have produced a suite of Route Strategies and Strategic studies to collate evidence and feedback covering the whole of our network.
Route Strategies present a high level view of performance and constraints on existing road network as well as recommending areas for further study. View Route Strategies
Strategic Studies consider areas where we need longer term plans to anticipate future problems. Find out more about Strategic Studies.
The findings from both strategic studies and route strategies inform the development of the RIS 2 Investment Plan, helping decision-makers to identify where problems are most severe, and where the need for action is greatest. We will also draw from other sources such as the research and stakeholder engagement undertaken for our Strategic Economic Growth Plan - The Road to Growth.
As with the first RIS, the government will set out its expectations of what it wants from Highways England during the next RIS in a performance specification. This will be used by Office of Rail and Road to monitor Highways England’s performance.
Route Strategies form an important part of the evidence base for RIS2. They provide a high level view of the current performance of the Highways England road network. They allow us to understand the road network as it is now and also to help us plan for the future.
This ensures every decision made further down the line is built on comprehensive evidence about the state of the road network.
The route strategies process gathers feedback from stakeholders, customers and our internal performance data to ensure we understand every part of the road network, link by link and junction by junction.
Each of the 18 strategies covers an important strategic route. Between them they cover all our roads, providing a description of their features, current performance and constraints and identifying the locations where further study will take place.
Our approach to Route Strategies
Strategic studies: longer term plans
As part of the development of the second Road Investment Strategy, 6 strategic studies are being produced to address complex problems on the road network.
These consider areas where we need longer term plans such as those for the Northern Trans-Pennine route. The options outlined by these studies will be considered alongside the opportunities that route strategies will identify.
While the 18 route strategies consider the performance of the whole Highways England road network, route by route, the 6 strategic studies aim to address complex problems faced at specific locations. These can be on the existing road network or places where there are no strategic road connections.
The areas that the strategic studies have analysed are:
- Northern Trans-Pennine — the A66 and A69 corridors
- Trans-Pennine tunnel — linking Manchester to Sheffield
- Manchester north-west quadrant — the M60 from junctions 8 to 18
- A1 east of England — from the M25 to Peterborough
- Oxford to Cambridge expressway – linking Oxford to Cambridge via Milton Keynes
- M25 south-west quadrant – the M25 from junctions 10 to 16
How we support economic growth
Our road network is vital to the success of the UK economy. Supporting that economy is one of Highways England’s main objectives. It influences everything that we do – both in our current work and with our future investment planning.
We make a significant contribution to the UK’s economy through our investments, our operation of the network, and through our role as statutory consultee in the planning system. But we want to go further.
The Road to Growth is our first strategic economic growth plan – a plan for maximising the economic impact of our road network. This is one of the pieces of work that will inform the next Road Investment Strategy. It will also continue to influence our business and our investment decisions for many years ahead.
Find out how we support economic growth.