Highways England will give emerging sub-national transport bodies ‘a prominent role’ in drawing up the next round of route strategies, which will in turn feed into the Government’s second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2).
The company has published its Route Strategies Approach, which sets out its high-level approach to drawing up what will again be 18 separate plans, although it has promised to ‘ensure the interfaces [between strategies] are addressed’.
It follows the publication last month of the Department for Transport’s Road Investment Strategy post-2020: Planning ahead, which fired the starting gun on the RIS2 process.
Route strategies will consider integration with local roads
The new document says much of the work of developing RIS2 will use the route strategies as its foundation and that ministers will use the strategies ‘to identify where problems are most severe, and where the need for action is greatest’.
It confirms that Highways England will ‘consider options for maintaining, operating or enhancing roads, including on local roads where these may bring about benefits such as alleviating congestion, on the strategic road network’.
Highways England says it will continue to work closely with motorists, local communities, construction partners and environmental groups to support its understanding of the road network, and identify where users and communities feel the greatest priorities for investment are needed.
It says it has been listening to feedback about its previous approach to involving stakeholders and has ‘taken on board recommendations to further strengthen our approach,’ adding: ‘We also want to make sure that the full range of stakeholders are fully involved in this round of route strategies.’
The company’s consultation plans also include commissioning Transport Focus to conduct customer research and a nationwide programme of engagement. It says Members of Parliament, local authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships will play an important part in this discussion.
The document adds: ‘We will also be updating our approach to reflect the emergence of new sub national transport bodies, such as Transport for the North, so that we make sure that route strategies recognise their regional priorities.
'We are talking to the emerging sub-national transport bodies about how these relationships can prosper, and to enable them to have a prominent role in setting strategies for the network.’