Road Network Maintenance Policy [15 December 2003]

'Transport 2010: The 10 Year Plan' noted that "the condition of our roads is a matter of concern not just for motorists, but also for cyclists, pedestrians and bus passengers" (para 6.42). Road condition has a direct effect on the Department for Transport's ability (and that of the devolved administrations) to deliver policy objectives of tackling congestion; reducing casualties; respecting the environment; and supporting the economy. The Plan set the objective of eliminating the local road, bridge and lighting maintenance backlog in England by the end of the Plan period. The research programme exists to support the Department for Transport (DfT), the Highways Agency (HA), and local highway authorities in delivering that objective (with a similar approach by the devolved administrations). Research to support the policy objective of eliminating the maintenance backlog by March 2011 will focus on ensuring that the maintenance programme offers best value; determining best practice in, and possible efficiency gains from, up-to-date maintenance planning and procurement techniques; determining optimum maintenance regimes that allow highway authorities to maintain roads on a basis which minimises costs over time and the disruption caused; developing understanding of highway engineering techniques; and determining public attitudes to road condition. The majority of research projects provide the fundamental information upon which policy will be formulated. Projects may also provide updates on previous understanding (possibly in the light of research elsewhere), be used to advance areas already under consideration but for which policy is not yet fully defined, or areas where standards exist but for which a new approach could yield benefits.