Skip to page content
View our Strategic Investment Plan

Changing the mindset on investing in roads

Changing the mindset on investing in roads

Temperatures are soaring, wild fires are occurring in the UK and the pressure is on to protect the planet. So investing in roads is a terrible idea. Or, is it?

Roads have played an important role in enabling the transportation of goods and people since the Romans invaded in 43AD, introducing the first programme of planned road-building.

Today, highways remain at the core of our transport systems, with each and every person reliant on highways to go about their day to day life. Whether to travel by car, bus, cycling, or walking and wheeling, or to access railway and bus stations or stops. Highways also facilitate freight and business and allow people to access goods and services or to receive them at home.

An efficient, safe and reliable highway network is therefore essential to modern society. And, this reality is unlikely to change. Despite the fact that increased highway usage can exacerbate global warming, environmental impacts and safety concerns. Our thinking around highways investment needs to reflect this reality.

Highways per se, are not necessarily bad. It is the way in which they are used that can be a cause for concern. In planning future highways investment, as we have in our draft Strategic Investment Plan (SIP) we are looking at highways as multi-modal movement corridors, providing for journeys by electric and hydrogen powered vehicles, bus, and all forms of active travel.

There are highway schemes within our draft strategic investment plan, you might hear others refer to them as ‘road schemes’. These aren’t about building new roads that prioritise car users. Many of them include interventions that will allow new or improved public transport and active travel options, as well as improving safety for all users.  

It is time to change the mindset on what highways will be used for in the future. Enabling more of them to become multi-modal transport corridors. Making it easier for people to opt for active travel or public transport over private cars, but this requires investment in the highway.

We are currently consulting on our draft Strategic Investment Plan. Read the full or summary version of the SIP and make an informed response to the consultation via our consultation platform.

Learn more about how we have considered the need for highways investment in our Highways Thematic Plan.