IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Roads: a utility in need of a strategy


  • Stephen Glaister
  • John W. Smith


British roads are under-supplied and irrationally priced. Estimates of the rate of economic return to investment are high. There is no mechanism for consumer protection and current attempts to record and publish the level of service are inadequate. This will persist until there is fundamental reform of the governance and--possibly--ownership of the major road network. The paper argues that the UK regulated utility model offers valuable insights. Other candidates are discussed for reform of corporate governance, accountability, charging, and funding. A reformed charging regime designed to deal with road congestion and other externalities would also help with the carbon emission problem. The paper discusses the division between: central government; new bodies to 'own' and regulate the assets; and local authorities. Even in the absence of direct user charging in the short term, there is a case for change to enhance the accountability of the national roads infrastructure provider to its customers. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Glaister & John W. Smith, 2009. "Roads: a utility in need of a strategy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(3), pages 368-390, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:3:p:368-390

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nicholas Crafts, 2013. "Returning to Growth: Policy Lessons from History," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 34(2), pages 255-282, June.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:3:p:368-390. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.