Tackling congestion on our roads is one of the
key challenges in transport today, both at national
and local level. The ability of people and goods
to move around - to meet the needs of business,
to access services, for social purposes and
leisure - depends to a great extent on the road
network. Part of the response to congestion is to
make sure that we make the best possible use
of the road network to keep traffic flowing.
However, roads carry more than just traffic. Within
them are the means to carry the energy, water
and communications infrastructure to provide
essential services to both homes and businesses.
The right balance needs to be found between the
needs of the utility companies, seeking to maintain
essential services, and highway authorities striving
to keep traffic moving for all their road users.
While all this work is necessary, when and how
it is done can make a big difference to the effect
it has on road users. We have all had experience
of journeys that have been delayed by someone
digging up the road. It is important that works
are carefully planned and co-ordinated with other
activities in the street, as well as carried out safely
and with consideration towards roads users and
the public. If those involved work closely to deliver
this, it will ensure safety for workers and the public
while minimising disruption and inconvenience.
The studies in this Guide show how working
together can do this. It requires co-operation of
those involved, especially utility companies, local
authorities and their contractors and suppliers. It
also requires a culture that tries to minimise the
impact of works throughout the process, from early
planning through to the completion of the work. It is
important that, alongside the roll-out of the Traffic
Management Act 2004 powers, all those involved
in planning or carrying out works in the street seek
to embed this co-operation and culture within their
organisations and the way that they work together.
We welcome the publication of this Good Practice
Guide and are grateful for the contribution of all
those involved in creating it. We hope that the
Guide will encourage everyone in this industry
to work together, adopt the principles set out
here, but also go further to develop and promote
new ways of working that will become the good
practice of the future. This will benefit the industry
as well as all road users and local communities.