What we do

Our Pur­pose

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.

Roads reform

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.

More infor­ma­tion

For more detailed infor­ma­tion on the Agency’s activ­i­ties please refer to:

If you have fur­ther ques­tions or need more infor­ma­tion, please con­tact us.