What we do
The Highways Agency was created in March 1994 as an executive agency of the Department for Transport. We work on behalf of the secretary of state for transport and our responsibilities are formally laid down by Department for Transport in our framework document.
Our role is to help support the UK economy by operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England. The strategic road network in England is some 4,300 miles long and is made up of motorways and trunk roads — the most significant ‘A’ roads.
While our network represents only two per cent of all roads in England by length, it carries a third of all traffic by mileage. Significantly, two thirds of all heavy goods vehicle mileage in England is undertaken on the strategic road network, making it the economic backbone of the country.
In July 2013, the government published a command paper Action for Roads: A network for the 21st century. This sets out its plans to radically change the way strategic roads are funded and managed.
It includes plans to transform the Highways Agency into a government owned company. This will improve efficiency and reduce running costs, with taxpayers expected to benefit from savings of at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.
Find out more about the transformation of the Highways Agency into a government owned company.
What we do
We operate the strategic road network through a National Traffic Information Service which supports our National Traffic Operations Centre and seven regional control centres. We have a uniformed Traffic Officer service who serve in control centres and patrol the key areas of the network, helping to manage and clear incidents as quickly and safely as possible.
Our role in maintaining and improving the network is delivered through a large and complex supply chain through a number and variety of contracts. We also set and maintain technical standards for roads and structures which we require our contractors to adhere to and which are referred to by many local and other national authorities for the roads that they manage.
The Agency is overseen by a board which includes a non-executive chair-man, three non-executive directors, the chief executive and five executive directors.
Vision and goals
The Highways Agency has set itself the challenging task of becoming ‘The world’s leading road operator’ by 2015. We have identified five goals which will help us towards our vision:
- We provide a service that our customers can trust.
- We set the standard for delivery.
- We deliver sustainable solutions.
- Our roads are the safest in the world.
- Our network is a dynamic and resilient asset.
To support this we have set out a values statement, ‘Delivering a professional and affordable service through innovation and partnership working’, to communicate the behaviours required of staff and contractors to ensure the delivery of our goals and the fulfilment of our organisational objectives.
For more detailed information on the Agency’s activities please refer to:
If you have further questions or need more information, please contact us.