Opinion: Ideas For Improving The UK’s Road Infrastructure
Even though the United Kingdom is considered to have some of the most well-maintained and safest roads in the world, there is no denying that there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. The responsibility for the upkeep and management of the roads in Britain are shared between local authorities (local streets and roads) and the Highways Agency (major trunk roads including motorways).
Poorly-maintained roads like the example in the photograph above are, unfortunately, starting to become commonplace rather than the exception to the rule. Here are some of my ideas for how I think the public roads of the United Kingdom can be better improved and maintained.
Build more park and ride locations
Park and ride locations are great for motorists, because it means that they can park their car somewhere safe and go into a major town or city on the bus from the park and ride area. Cities such as Oxford have been operating such a system for years, reducing congestion in densely-populated parts of the city (such as the city centre, for example).
It also offers local authorities an extra source of revenue, which can be of help to pay for much-needed publicly-funded services where funding is being reduced or cut completely by central government.
Make faster repairs of damaged roads
One criticism that both local authorities and the Highways Agency alike often receive is the fact that they can sometimes be slow to come out and repair any damage to roads.
For example, adverse weather conditions can create potholes in the roads, and many motorists often put compensation claims in for damage done to their vehicles as a result of driving over damaged roads.
If roads were repaired quicker, there would be virtually no compensation claims being made!
Install brighter street lights
The majority of local streets in various villages, towns and cities in the UK tend to use cheap sodium street lights which aren’t really very bright, especially when you are travelling along major roads.
White LED lights would be a better solution instead of sodium lighting, as they use less electricity and are brighter. Bristol City Council are currently in the process of replacing their sodium-based street lights with white LEDs; perhaps other local authorities could follow suit!
Free left turns
In the United States if you stop at a set of traffic lights and you want to turn right, you are allowed to do so even if the traffic lights are still red – as long as it is safe to do so.
Dave from www.coopermini.co.uk reckons that such a system should be adopted here in the United Kingdom, as it would help to ease traffic congestion (especially during peak hours), and it works pretty well in the USA.
Heated trunk roads
Whenever there is a buildup of snow, teams of local authority and Highways Agency workers have to battle adverse weather conditions to keep major roads and motorways open by clearing the snow and spreading salt on the ground.
Some countries around the world actually have heating elements under the tarmac to ensure that the snow melts and keeps major roads flowing freely.