Highways Agency
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Delivering for road users: Highways Agency publishes annual report 2007-08

Delivering for road users: Highways Agency publishes annual report 2007-08

HIGHWAYS AGENCY News Release (HA-34-08) issued by The Government News Network on 17 July 2008

The Highways Agency today publishes its Annual Report for 2007-08. Over the past year the Agency has met or exceeded most of its ministerial targets, and has continued to establish itself as a true network operator and traffic manager for motorways and major A roads in England.

The Annual Report shows how the Agency is making journeys safer, delivering better information services for drivers, using innovative techniques and technology to better manage traffic and provide capacity on its roads, whilst working to reduce the impact of the strategic road network on the environment.

During 2007-08 the number of deaths and serious injuries on England's motorways and major A roads was further reduced; eight major road improvement schemes were completed; Active Traffic Management (ATM) was successfully trialled on the M42 and will be extended to more of the motorways around Birmingham; and we opened the M606/M62 high occupancy vehicle lane, near Bradford in West Yorkshire - the first of its kind on a UK motorway.

The Agency has also taken forward the M25 DBFO (Design, Build, Finance, Operate) contract, which includes adding capacity to 63 miles of the M25 motorway, and expects to announce the award of the contract in late 2008.

Throughout the year the Agency and its suppliers have received awards for its schemes, including an environmental award for the Active Traffic Management scheme, and recognition for its safety information toolkits for road users and stakeholders.

Graham Dalton, Highways Agency Chief Executive, said:

"Meeting or exceeding most of our key targets is an immense credit to all the staff, our many suppliers and to my predecessor, Archie Robertson.

"We have made a positive impact with our customers this year with the continued extended presence of the Traffic Officer Service, the new journey time signs for drivers, the successful M42 Active Traffic Management (ATM) trial, new pre-journey planning tools as well as our response to the floods last summer.

"We also have a key role in taking forward the Secretary of State's announcement in March to investigate extending the use of ATM and hard shoulder running to add capacity and aid better management of traffic on our motorways."

Achievements by the Highways Agency in 2007-08 include:

* Strategic roads programme: eight major new schemes opened in the year, including the £120 million improvement scheme for the A2/A282 at Dartford opened five months ahead of schedule.

* Reliability: Active Traffic Management was successfully trialled on the M42 and will be extended to more of the motorways around Birmingham.

* Environment: Targets met on air quality, biodiversity, landscape, noise and water quality.

* Information: Three new driver information services introduced including our digital Traffic Radio service.

* Safety: Numbers of deaths and serious injuries on the Agency's network have been further reduced.

* Maintenance: An £800m maintenance programme kept the Agency's roads safe and serviceable; road condition target met once again. Progress has been made towards establishing a cost and efficiency indicator - a pre-cursor for a value for money indicator. The target for delivering a value for money indicator has moved into 2008-09.

* Road user satisfaction: Targeted satisfaction levels for motorways and trunk roads exceeded.

Graham Dalton continued:

"Last year we made good progress in the delivery of our major road schemes by completing eight major projects. This means that since 2001 we have delivered 53 strategic road schemes for our road users. We also started work on nine major road schemes, moving them from the 'development' to the 'construction' phase.

"We have implemented the recommendations from Nichols and the NAO reports to improve control of our major projects through the introduction of our Projects Control Framework and the new Commercial Division.

"To ensure that we continue to move forward with the best business case and better value for money, a number of major road schemes re-entered the 'options' phase while an in depth review of the scope and costs, which included the consideration of ATM, was carried out.

"Last year we were able to limit the increase in delays for the 10 per cent slowest journeys to one second per mile. We were unable to meet our journey time reliability target overall, but statistics show that since June 2007 journey times have improved as a result of our commitment to tackling congestion and our ongoing investment in congestion busting measures."

Notes to Editors

Table showing how the Highways Agency performed against its tagets is available in the Word document attached.

1. The Highways Agency is an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We manage, maintain and improve the network of trunk roads and motorways in England on behalf of the Secretary of State.

2. The Highways Agency Annual Report and Accounts 2007-08 is available at http://www.highways.gov.uk.

3. Copies of the report are available to the public on http://www.highways.gov.uk or from TSO (The Stationery Office) PO Box 29, Norwich NR3 1GN. Telephone: 0870 600 5522. The cost is £25.75 per copy.

4. The Highways Agency traffic information website is at http://www.highways.gov.uk/trafficinfo

5. For real-time traffic information, the Highways Agency 24-hour voice activated telephone service is on 08700 660 115. (Calls from BT landlines to 0870 numbers will cost no more than 8p per minute; mobile calls usually cost more).

6. To check the latest road conditions before leaving the house or office, people can listen to Traffic Radio on DAB digital radio. It's also available at http://www.trafficradio.org.uk

7. For general information about the Highways Agency and its work, visit the Highways Agency website http://www.highways.gov.uk, or telephone the Highways Agency information line on 08457 50 40 30 at any time. (Calls to 0845 numbers cost no more than 3p/min from BT residential landlines. Call charges from other and mobile networks may vary.)

Issued by the Highways Agency press office.


Notes

For the areas shaded in grey no comparable year target exists

(1) Target not met due to a number of underlying factors including:

* Target set in the absence of trend data;
* Impact of traffic growth greater than anticipated;
* Short-term disruption of major roadworks on the measured routes, and
* One-off large scale events such as the flooding in 2007.

(2) Detailed monitoring measures were developed by 30 September 2007, but quantified targets could not be set until the programme for 2008-09 had been approved by Ministers in March 2008. The Department for Transport agreed that the target could be considered met if the 2008-09 targets were set by March 2008.

(3) The major schemes progress points method is an enhanced way of measuring and monitoring progress of the targeted programme of improvements (TPI). Each major scheme incorporates a number of events, including 4 'key events' and points are awarded when they are completed. Key events comprise: invitation to tender, award of contract, start of works and road opening. Progress points up to a maximum of 100 are awarded for each road scheme.

(4) Progress on a number of major projects was delayed as a result of an in depth review of their scope and costs being undertaken, including the consideration of implementing Active Traffic Management measures as an alternative to widening. These project reviews ensured that the Agency was taking forward those projects that provided the best business case and better value for money.

(5) After completing surveys on 13 of the sites the Agency concluded that on value for money grounds no further work should be undertaken. These 13 sites count against the target.

(6) The three new driver information services implemented are a traffic radio service, real time CCTV images on our website and high-quality moving images for TV travel news bulletins, and the display of travel time information on our variable message signs (VMS). The two further services for business cases were put to the Minister are the Highways Agency (HA) Information Points and HA Mobile schemes.

(7) Monitoring on the eight travel plans introduced in 2006-07 was undertaken during the year, and will continue while the longer term impacts and benefits are assessed. 12 of the plans introduced in 2007-08 were agreed as part of planning conditions for new developments; development may not necessarily take place for a number of years, or at all in some cases.

(8) Due to the compilation method these figures - by necessity - reflect the calendar, and not the financial year. Also, the size of the Agency's network, on which the figures have been calculated, has reduced over the period in which comparative statistics are presented.

(9) The measure of road surface condition is based on surveys covering rutting, unevenness, and skid resistance. The target takes account of the fact that it is not practical or sustainable to maintain the whole road network in as-new condition. The condition at which the road network is to be maintained each year is equated to a road surface condition index score of 100 and is the target level at which the road network will be maintained. To allow for variability/uncertainty in annual condition scores, a tolerance is allowed in the target.

(10) Progress has been made towards establishing a cost and efficiency indicator, which is a pre-cursor for a value for money indicator, but not itself a vfm indicator.

(11) The measure is calculated by applying a simple arithmetical mean across the results of the five sub targets; the results being expressed as a percentage.

(12) The comparable target in prior years required efficiency improvements to be expressed in percentage terms.

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