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National Road Users’ Satisfaction Survey (NRUSS) 2016-17

This was carried out by AECOM on behalf of Transport Focus. They carried out 2,000 face to face interviews with users of the Highways England Network.

The questionnaire asks about their most recent journey. The questions covers:

Journey times

The statistical process used was ‘logistic regression modelling’which, we are told,  iteratively determines the smallest set of variables that can explain largest movement in satisfaction.

Key Findings

“Litter” is not mentioned once in the 4 pages of Key Findings.

Under “Upkeep” we are told that a satisfaction score of 90 per cent was achieved and that the key areas generating dissatisfaction were potholes, bad surfaces, debris on the road and surfaces that
are not maintained or are noisy. This implies”litter” was not a significant source of dissatisfaction.

Analysis of satisfaction with upkeep

On page 25 we are told that negative factors included “seeing litter on the road.  Does this mean that  respondents were only asked about litter in the context of the road surface excluding the verges?

On page 26 under  “Levels of maintenance” it says that most users thought motorways and major ‘A’ roads were “clear of hazards such as rubbish and debris.  Again does this mean that respondents were asked to consider rubbish (aka litter) only in terms of it being hazardous rather that unsightly?

On page 27 under “Litter and overgrowth” it says 9 per cent of users on motorways and 17 per cent of users on major ‘A’ roads had seen litter on their journey in 2016-17. This is remarkably low – unless they had been asked to focus on just the road surface.

It goes on to say that when asked how seeing litter made them feel, they said mainly it caused them to be angry or irritated.

In this analysis section there are a number of sample comments mainly positive but some negative. Here are the negative ones which refer to litter:

 “It’s a mess on the A14, it feels neglected and filthy, and lane markings are worn out in lots of places” however is more revealing.

Lots of rubbish and the verges are overgrown

There’s always litter and overgrown bollards everywhere, it’s a mess

Not maintained, in my view, to a standard that I would like and there are weeds growing in the roadside gutters. I have never seen anyone cleaning that section and clearing up litter.

I will try to get hold of a copy of the questionnaire to see how the questions were put to road users.

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Peter Silverman
12th July 2017


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