Perception of congestion on motorways
The Department of Transport commissioned FaberMaunsell to undertake a research study to examine public perceptions of motorway congestion. The aim of the research was to obtain a greater in-depth understanding of driver attitudes and experiences of motorway congestion than has been possible from previous studies, and in particular to help explain why many people continue to use busy motorways. The findings of this research would inform policy on measures to both reduce and manage congestion on the motorway network and across the wider road system.
The exploratory nature of the research dictated the need for a programme of qualitative research, involving a programme of focus groups and in-depth interviews at a number of locations across England. The research was conducted in two phases, with a break between each to provide an opportunity to review and revise the process.
The research involved 18 focus groups and 20 in-depth interviews with non-commercial drivers (mainly commuters and leisure travellers), and seven focus groups plus two in-depth interviews with commercial drivers (business, Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) and Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) drivers).
There were significant differences in the findings by age, gender, social class and journey type. Respondents were categorised as confident, indifferent, reluctant or nervous motorway drivers, dependent on whether they liked or disliked driving, and there were key differences between these types of drivers. These differences are highlighted in the following sections.