Economic, Environmental and Social Impact of Changes in Maintenance Spend on Roads in Scotland Summary Report

Appendix A Effect of budget constraints on activities

A road authority considers many aspects when applying road maintenance budget cuts across its range of activities. As well as any overall strategic aims, consideration must also be given to legislative requirements, contractual obligations and the ability to react to unforeseen circumstances. It is not possible to account for all such issues in a study of this type and scope, and given the focus on long term impacts, the approach adopted in the study has been to apply spending reductions in a way which will minimise the impact on typical long term aims of a road authority.

The objectives of each maintenance activity were rated for their contribution to the corporate objectives of Transport Scotland for the trunk road network (safety, accessibility, reliability, condition, sustainability and customer care). Given the high level nature of the assessment, these objectives were also considered appropriate to use in the assessment for local roads.

The breakdown of maintenance budgets into the different activities differs for trunk roads and local roads. For trunk roads, information was supplied by Transport Scotland at a detailed activity level of disaggregation, and the results of the analysis have been grouped into the summary headings used in the Trunk Road Asset Management Plan and summarised in Table A.1.

For local roads, the figures were adopted from the Audit Scotland report (Audit Scotland, 2011) and the results of the analysis are summarised in Table A.2.

Table A.1 Estimated reductions for different activities on trunk roads
Activity Activity spend as percentage of current budgeted activity spend
Scenario 2
(Overall 20% cut)
Scenario 3
(Overall 40% cut)
Inventory, inspection, testing, routine and cyclic activity 87 72
Miscellaneous 88 71
Structural maintenance - pavements (carriageways) 56 24
Structural maintenance - structures 96 86
Minor improvements 93 75
Total overall budget (%) 80 60


Table A.2 Estimated reductions for different activities on local roads
Activity Activity spend as percentage of current budgeted activity spend
Scenario 2
(Overall 20% cut)
Scenario 3
(Overall 40% cut)
Capital 75 50
Traffic Calming 96 92
Road Safety 96 92
New Road Schemes 89 77
Lighting 92 85
Structural Maintenance (Carriageway) 65 31
Other 81 63
Revenue 83 66
Road Construction 89 77
Structural Maintenance (Carriageway) 65 31
Environmental Maintenance 73 47
Winter Maintenance 96 92
Lighting 89 77
Safety Maintenance and Emergency Patching 96 92
Routine Repairs 67 33
Total Overall Budget (%) 80 60

The significant results to note are:

  • Activities which have a significant contribution to safety or route reliability have been assumed to be less affected by the maintenance budget reductions than those contributing to, for example, asset condition. This approach accords with general road asset management experience.
  • The activity which is used as the basis for the quantitative analysis (i.e. structural maintenance of carriageways) is significantly reduced. For the Scenario based on a 40% reduction in funding, such maintenance is reduced to 44% of existing levels for trunk roads, and 31% of existing levels for local roads. These figures were used to scale the results of the quantitative analysis from the effects of the funding reductions of 20% and 40% respectively.