General Knowledge
Smith, Jan & Phillips
ARUP, RAC Foundation
Published in
Submitted by
Caroline Visser
Related theme(s)
Finances & Economics
All Regions
United Kingdom

Providing and Funding Strategic Roads

An International Perspective with Lessons for the UK, prepared by ARUP and RAC Foundation

Across the world, governments continue to face significant economic challenges. The need to balance deficit reduction measures with investments which can unlock growth is paramount, and the UK is no exception. The 2010 National Infrastructure Plan emphasised the importance of economic infrastructure, such as our highways, in supporting growth, enabling competitiveness and improving quality of life.

The UK’s starting point is not strong. Surveys undertaken for the World Economic Forum suggest that our road network is less ‘extensive and efficient’ than those of other developed countries. Delays on our roads are among the highest in Europe already, and forecast to grow by 19% by 2025 and 54% by 2035, compared with 2003 levels.Furthermore, in England, the Highways Agency (HA) and local authorities remain unable to fund many planned investments to increase capacity.

The purpose of this report is to examine how other developed countries are approaching these challenges, and to identify lessons which we can learn from their experience. Our case studies cover experience of highways investment in six countries in three continents: Australia, the USA, Canada, France, Spain and Portugal.