Wolfson Economics Prize polling shows 69% of road users say Britain’s roads not good enough

Jul 10, 2017

69% of road users say the state of Britain’s roads is not good enough

  • 80% are very concerned about potholes
  • 79% think traffic is getting worse on all roads and action needs to be taken
  • 67% are very concerned about pollution from traffic
  • Road users are open to new forms of funding

A new poll commissioned by the 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize has revealed widespread dissatisfaction with the state of Britain’s road network. The poll of over 2,000 adults has been released as five finalists compete for the £250,000 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize which will be awarded this week for the best idea for paying for better roads.

This year’s prize question asks ‘How can we pay for better, safer, more reliable roads in a way that is fair to road users and good for the economy and the environment?’

The winner will be announced at an event in central London at 7pm on Thursday 13th July.

The prize finalists – chosen by a leading panel of judges including the former Chancellor Alistair Darling –  in April – have competed head to head in the second round for the prestigious prize and their final entries are being published today.

Leading motorist groups the AA and RAC Foundation are among those contributing to them.

The poll, undertaken by ComRes, shows that drivers are very concerned about fixing potholes, pollution from traffic and traffic more generally, and only 50% think the current system of road funding is fair. A majority of road users say that the argument that pay-per-use will be fairer – as those that use the roads more should pay more – is persuasive.

The poll also shows:

  • 80% say they are very concerned about fixing potholes, and 79% say traffic is getting worse on local and national roads and that action needs to be taken, while 67% are concerned by pollution from traffic.
  • Only 26% say the current state of roads is good enough.
  • 30% think current road taxes should be increased to pay for improvements and 30% support a new pay per use system.
  • 39% of people travel by car every day and 94% travel by car at some point. By contrast only 3% use trains every day and 5% buses.

The 2017 Wolfson Economics Prize – the third to be run – attracted worldwide interest with over 120 entries from 7 countries.

The founder of the Prize, Lord (Simon) Wolfson of Aspley Guise, said:

“Congestion, pollution and potholes are a source of daily misery for millions of people: undermining our economy, environment and quality of life. 

“But as our polling reveals, the Government has the backing of drivers to overcome the problems facing Britain’s road network and create a sustainable model of funding for the future. 

“Our five finalists have come up with an array of innovative ideas.   If they are open to new thinking, policymakers can learn much when our panel of judges – with significant experience across Government, transport, infrastructure and the media – choose a winner this Thursday.”

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